Person of the Week: Hawa Abdi

    In Somalia, where hunger and violence are prevalent, Dr. Hawa Abdi has made it her business to assist some 90,000 displaced people.

    A 63-year-old ob-gyn who also has a law degree, Abdi runs a camp that houses these 90,000 displaced people. She ensures that the camp is sustainable by training formerly nomadic herding families to farm and fish and providing education to women and children. She even operates a tiny jail for men who beat their wives.

    “We are trying an experiment,” Abdi told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “We women in Somalia are trying to be leaders in our community.”

    The success of the camp has attracted unwanted interest from the Hizb al-Islam militia, which earlier this year wanted to seize control of the camp’s operations. Denounced by Somalis from across the globe, the militia group later backed down and even handed a written apology to Abdi, as per her request.

    About the author

    • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.