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The Journey

As a young woman growing up in Somalia, I have always found it troubling that some people were given advantages and others were denied advantages due to their color or class. I could never absolutely agree that because someone was few shades darker, they were somehow uglier. This view, which was held by way too large of a majority, led many women to bleach their skin so they could become lighter.

Furthermore, most men acted like they could never be told what to do but girls must listen to what everyone tells them to do. When I was really young, I gave men that authority because I was raised that way and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t right. But as I grew older and began to understand the consequences of the different treatment, I began to resent it. However, these feelings of mine were not very welcomed in our culture so I began to think maybe this is how it was supposed to be until I came to the United States.

In the US I learned to have a voice and express that voice. As a naturally shy person, I was never really outspoken so I began to write my thoughts and ideas. Since I started college, I have started to seek out non-profit organizations that were international and found that it wasn’t really interesting to read stories about what is going on in other countries because it felt like I was just reading the news and the news is filled with mostly depressing stories. I wanted to find more of a real connection, a place where I could ask people’s personal stories and I could tell them mine. Then a few months ago, I accidently found Pulse Wire while searching through Facebook. I do not recall exactly what I was searching for but I remember signing up for this website. I immediately felt a great need to be a part of this community because it was exactly what I had been searching for. I started to read through the stories and was absolutely intrigued by the raw and inspiring voices of women all around the world.

After I joined, I began to write much more and for the first time posted my writings for people to read. I had never published anything I’d written (outside school papers) because it always felt too personal. However, reading the stories of women from rural towns as well as women from huge cities, I decided this was the right audience. My personal vision is gaining equality for everyone on the basis of being a human being. This journey has helped me understand and strengthen my views. It has also helped me find people who are as passionate about human rights and social change as I am which I am forever grateful for. Voices of Our Future gives me the opportunity to be able to put into words what I feel is important which is inspiring on its own.


nilima's picture

this is the beginning of your

this is the beginning of your writing -you say, in public but i found it a very managed and well written one! I just wonder why did you not gave your writings to any one so that you would be writing from earlier! but its never late to start anything, i see you passing through the long journey with your great power.

hannabarket's picture


Thank you so much, am glad you liked it. I had never published anything I wrote, except the class papers which I never let anyone outside the teacher read till very recently. I guess the reason why I never wanted to allow people to read was because it felt too personal and I thought no one would like it. I was simply too scared to go through the possible rejection or criticism I may face. But I am very glad I started to share, its a much more rewarding to see how others react to it and I have learned to love criticism because it helps me get a lot better.

Again, thank you very much Nilima!

nilima's picture

And i am also desperate to

And i am also desperate to read about culture and status women in your society. From my childhood i have been only hearing the crisis in somalia, i am so much eager to know about this country. I know i can google it but the surfacial information do not excites me so much , i want to hear from the one who have been spending life in somalia. I will be looking forward to read about the culture, tradition, status about somalia. hope you will be posting it soon.

i will be waiting for it!

thank you

hannabarket's picture

Glad to help!

I will post up as much information as I can. I have lived there till I was 12 years old and much has changed over the years but I am still quite informed or I attempt to stay informed. I spend more than half my life in my home country and it has been in this state of lawlessness for my twenty one years of life. Many of the young men and women born late 80s or early 90s, especially in the capital Muqdisho (Mogadishu), have only known war and they have been raised with the mentality that it is the way of life. You hear and see pictures of children carry machine guns almost as big as they are but its all they know. The majority of the social division comes from Tribalism or clan ties which every Somali identifies his/her self through. Its a disgrace not to know what one's tribe is because it is part of your identity. This system of using clans to distinguish different people was originally used as a way of protecting and helping those closest to you. Thus if a clan member were to commit a crime or fall ill with a disease, its the clans responsibility to provide reward for the criminal acts or come up with a punishment and to all so assist the families of those who fall. It was a system of social order and understanding. However, that morphed into tactic to divide Somali citizens and each clan began to tell stories about their success and superiority over the other clans. This use of clan identity began toward the end of a dictatorship and the last real government Somalia had in the last two decades. Siad Barre (president during the dictatorship) is both loved by many and hated by many because while he brought great nationalism to the country and seemed at first to be a great leader, his hunger for power and rebellion from other clan based organizations who also wanted power led him to make sure he reversed any progress he'd made during that time. Also, a lot of his overthrow was due to the fact Somalia was allied with the Soviet Union and was a socialist state at the end of the Cold War thus when socialism fell so did many of the political regimes that were modeled after it.

I feel as though am ranting on and on but if you want to know about anything specific or just general questions, I will do my best to give as much information as I know and find out what I can. I hope that makes some sense.


nilima's picture

thank u

thank you hanna for the information, ACTUALLY i have heard the name of the country many times in my childhood, i just used to think how they would survive, i heard there was the food crisis there, people were dying out of hunger. I also request you , while you write other post in your journal, write some thing about the women and children and the men's status in the society that will be new for us!

thank u so much for now and when you will get time write some thing more about somalia.

all love


Claudia's picture

so glad you decided to take a

so glad you decided to take a proactive stance and that you are voicing your views!

hannabarket's picture


Thank you Claudia

hannabarket's picture


Thank you Claudia

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dear Hanna

Happy to read from you and your great stroy, we need women like you in our society who can stand bold and speak from the bottom of their heart without the fear of what the public would say about them,

Great work dea n keep it up.

Peace and love,

hannabarket's picture

Thank you

Thank you Maryan, I will keep my best to be truthful and wholehearted in my writing.

JT Long's picture

A Beautiful Voice

So glad you found your voice. Every person is unique and special regardless of physical appearance. Thank you for sharing that message.

JT Long

telling stories; creating communities

hannabarket's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much JT

Vega Tom's picture


Dear Hanna -
It is really neat to read about how stumbling upon World Pulse has been so inspiring to you. Despite being shy, you clearly have a strong voice and I am so glad you have found a place to share it and with such vision.
Thanks you,

hannabarket's picture

Thank you

I am glad I did because I am not absolutely sure when, even if I would actually write about things that matter to me and allow others to read. Its been a great opportunity and I've connected many wonderful people which is very exciting in itself.
Thank you very much Vega.

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