The lively voice of Abdisalam Mohamud Shire is famous among disability communities all over southern Somalia’s Lower Juba region, Radio Ergo says.
Abdisalam’s weekly programme, Rajo-side (Carrier of hope), airs every Thursday on the local radio, Radio Kismayo. Being blind himself – and the only blind journalist working in Somalia – he aims to reach out to others living with disabilities to make a positive difference in their lives.
“As a disabled person myself I wanted to represent others. I present the programme for them, and bring in those who have no voice. I tell them to speak, let the community hear you!” Abdisalam told Radio Ergo. Now 30 years old, Abdisalam became blind at the age of three, after falling sick with measles without treatment at his home in the farming area of Jamame. His family moved to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, where he went to primary school. He finished high school in Kisumu, in western Kenya. In 2018, he decided to return home under the voluntary refugee repatriation scheme. He took his idea to the radio station.
“One of the main reasons I launched this programme is to make families aware about the educational needs of disabled children, who are usually kept at home. I also want to reduce discrimination around disability and enable people with disabilities to develop themselves,” he said.Each 40-minute broadcast of Rajo-side covers health, education, and the challenges of discrimination in a variety of ways. It features inspirational stories about disabled people who have managed to change their lives for the better.