Somalia is the most dangerous place in Africa to work for the press, but that has failed to deter a brazen group of young journalists studying in neighbouring Kenya, who have vowed to return home to report on their war-torn country.
Fifteen journalists have been killed in Somalia this year, a grim record, with six dying in attacks in September alone. Because of the persecution reporters face at home, Somali media have flourished in the Kenyan capital. Many say they are unafraid of the dangers they will face reporting from their home country.
“Everyone will die one day,” Abdiladiif Ali declares in a small room he shares with two other Somalis in his new home in Nairobi. “Whether I am in Somalia or in a safer place, still death will meet me.”
Mohamed Osman is the founder of Al-Imra Institute of Language and Journalism, and chairman of the Somali Exiled Journalists Association.
In 2010, Mohamed Osman founded the institute in Nairobi. Today, young Somali refugees pack the single classroom. Nearly half of the 30 students are female.
Ali sits toward the back, but takes notes carefully. His brother, working in the United States, sends him money to cover the monthly tuition fee of 1,000 shillings (US$12).
The school has no equipment of its own. Osman relies on local journalists, who occasionally lend their cameras and audio recorders for the students to learn how to use. The education Al-Imra offers is highly sought after, despite its meagre resources.
“I will work wherever I find a job,” says 27-year-old student Fatuma Lsse. “If I find work in Somalia, the better for me, it is my country. You need to be bold, somebody has to work there.”