Picture this: Somalia: the longest-running failed state, a country at war with itself for over a decade. Now picture this: Dr Hawa Abdi, a lady, a gynecologist, imbued with a spirit of service that has made her daughters into converts to her cause. She and her two daughters now run what has grown from a single room to a 400-bed hospital. These bed are always full, but in the hospital campus stay 90,000 displaced people who also need medical help or a shelter from the violence and madness outside the camp. Her hospital has become one of Somalia's largest relief camps.
In May, 2010, she was abducted and held at gunpoint for being a woman and running the camp, but the womenfolk in the camp nearly 75,000 are women or children) – through sheer numbers, and aided by a flood of approbation from the world over, they forced Dr Abdi's release. Dr Abdi, however, was made of sterner stuff – she insisted that the leader of those who abducted her apologise in writing for her abduction and vandalisation of the hospital.
Currently, Somalians are reeling under a famine, and all she can provide is drinking water, and a rent-free place to stay. While the majority of those in the camp are women and children, men are allowed to stay with two conditions (the first applies to all in the camp):
- those staying in the camp do not talk about family or clan (the reason why Somalia is so deeply divided), and
- they do not beat their wives. Any wife-beater is locked up in an empty storeroom.
Just 5 doctors (including Dr Abdi and her two daughters) and 16 nurses at the camp conduct 20 surgeries every day and treat 300-400 patients every single day, seven days a week; AND manage the camp. Truly deserving candidate for the Nobel Prize. Hope that she is nominated soon – the prize money will help her foundation and Somalia greatly.