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RTX34XMK
A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
As the village wells dried up and her livestock died in the scorched scrubland of southern Somalia, Abdir Hussein had one last chance to save her family from starvation: the beauty of her 14-year-old daughter, Zeinab.
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W2X
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, sits as she holds her nephew at a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, sits as she holds her nephew at a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas in Dollow, Somalia. As the village wells dried up and her livestock died in the scorched scrubland of southern Somalia, Abdir Hussein had one last chance to save her family from starvation: the beauty of her 14-year-old daughter, Zeinab.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3G
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (2nd L) poses for photograph with her family beside their shelter at a camp for internally...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (2nd L) poses for photograph with her family beside their shelter at a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas in Dollow, Somalia. Last year, an older man offered $1,000 for her dowry, enough to take her extended family to Dollow, a Somali town on the Ethiopian border where international aid agencies are handing out food and water to families fleeing a devastating drought. Zeinab refused.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4I
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, poses for a photograph beside her shelter at a camp for internally displaced people from...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, poses for a photograph beside her shelter at a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas in Dollow. "I would rather die. It is better that I run into the bush and be eaten by lions," said the slender dark-eyed girl in a high, soft voice. "Then we will stay and starve to death and the animals will eat all of our bones," her mother shot back.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W2Y
April 10, 2017
Displaced women from drought hit areas wait to fill their jerrycans as they gather at the water point...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Displaced women from drought hit areas wait to fill their jerrycans as they gather at the water point at a camp in Dollow. The exchange, related to Reuters by the teenager and her mother, is typical of the choices facing Somali families after two years of poor rains. Crops withered and the white bones of livestock are scattered across the Horn of Africa nation.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3K
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's sister Habiba, 29, sits with her children beside their shelter at a camp. The disaster is part...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's sister Habiba, 29, sits with her children beside their shelter at a camp. The disaster is part of an arc of hunger and violence threatening 20 million people as it stretches across Africa into the Middle East. It extends from the red soil of Nigeria in the west, where Boko Haram's six-year jihadist insurgency has forced 2 million people to flee their homes, to Yemen's white deserts in the east, where warring factions block aid while children starve.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W30
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's sister Farhiya, 6, sits on a cart near her family's shelter at a camp in Dollow. Between them...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's sister Farhiya, 6, sits on a cart near her family's shelter at a camp in Dollow. Between them lie Somalia's parched sands and the swamps of oil-rich South Sudan, where starving families fleeing three years of civil war survive on water-lily roots. Parts of South Sudan are already suffering famine, the first in six years.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4U
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's mother Abdir Hussein, 45, prepares tea for her family. The family calls this tent their kitchen....
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's mother Abdir Hussein, 45, prepares tea for her family. The family calls this tent their kitchen. Hussein traded Zeinab's freedom for the lives of her sisters. "I felt so bad," she told Reuters in the ragged dome of sticks, rags and plastic that shelters her and 14 other relatives. "I ended the dreams of my baby. But without the money from the dowry, we would all have died."

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W49
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, stands at the entrance of her classroom at a school for internally displaced children. Zeinab,...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, stands at the entrance of her classroom at a school for internally displaced children. Zeinab, whose henna'd hands are also covered with her own inky teenage doodles, wears a tight-fitting headscarf and a long, drab skirt. Underneath are a pair of trousers with a spray of coloured rhinestones at the bottom, and an iron will. She wants to be an English teacher. She wants to finish school. She does not want to be married.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W41
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, applies her make-up before heading to school inside her shelter. "I want something different...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, applies her make-up before heading to school inside her shelter. "I want something different to this," she said, as her 2-year-old nephew rolled naked in the sand and his baby brother cried weakly.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4O
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (R) and her sister Habiba, 29, carry a jerrycan filled with water as they walk toward their...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (R) and her sister Habiba, 29, carry a jerrycan filled with water as they walk toward their shelter. Weighed against Zeinab's dreams were the lives of 20 nieces and nephews, the sons and daughters of her three elder sisters, all married young and all widowed or divorced. There was also her careworn older brother, her gap-toothed younger sister and her middle-aged parents.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4Z
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (C) washes dishes as her mother Abdir Hussein gestures and her nephews play at a camp. Once...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (C) washes dishes as her mother Abdir Hussein gestures and her nephews play at a camp. Once the family had cows and goats and three donkeys that they hired out with carts for transport. But the animals died around them and Zeinab became their only hope of escape.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4S
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (L) collects a chewing stick from a tree to be used to brush her teeth. For a month, she...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (L) collects a chewing stick from a tree to be used to brush her teeth. For a month, she refused, withdrawing into herself and running away when they forgot to lock her in her room. Finally, faced with her family's overwhelming need, Zeinab relented.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3L
April 10, 2017
Zeinab (2nd L), 14, helps her mother Abdir (L) and her sisters Farhiya and Habiba (R) to build a new...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab (2nd L), 14, helps her mother Abdir (L) and her sisters Farhiya and Habiba (R) to build a new shelter. "We didn't want to force her," her mother said wearily, worry lines etched into her forehead as her daughter sat stony-faced beside her. "I could not sleep for stress. My eyes were so tired I could not thread a needle."

REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3D
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's sister Farhiya, 6, cuts wood with an axe. The dowry was received, the marriage celebrated, and...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's sister Farhiya, 6, cuts wood with an axe. The dowry was received, the marriage celebrated, and union consummated. Zeinab stayed three days and ran away. When her family hired cars to drive them the 40 kilometers to Dollow, Zeinab went with them. She enrolled in the local school, where stick walls topped by corrugated iron sheets serve as classrooms for 10 teachers and around 500 students. Her husband followed.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3Y
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's sister Habiba, 29, feeds her baby as she sits beside a teapot. The family call this tent their...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's sister Habiba, 29, feeds her baby as she sits beside a teapot. The family call this tent their kitchen. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3F
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, helps her mother and sister build a new shelter. "He says, if the girl refuses me I must...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, helps her mother and sister build a new shelter. "He says, if the girl refuses me I must get my money back. Or I will take her by force," Zeinab said quietly. "He sends me messages saying give me the money or I will be with you as your husband." Her family cannot repay even a fraction of the dowry. Their only assets are their two stained foam mattresses, three cooking pots and the orange tarpaulin that covers their makeshift dome. There is nothing else to sell.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W46
April 10, 2017
Abdir Hussein, 45, walks as she carries a jerrycan while her daughter Zeinab washes dishes. REUTERS/Zohra...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Abdir Hussein, 45, walks as she carries a jerrycan while her daughter Zeinab washes dishes. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4T
April 10, 2017
Zeinab's English teacher Abdiweli Mohammed Hersi teaches children at the school near a camp for internally...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab's English teacher Abdiweli Mohammed Hersi teaches children at the school near a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas in Dollow. Hersi decided to step in. Hersi has seen hundreds of students drop out due to the drought. One girl left to work as a maid to help feed her family. Her generation was the first where the daughters were sent to school. A boy sickened and died; cholera has exploded throughout Somalia as the bacteria infects dwindling water supplies.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W48
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, writes in class. Five girls this year also left for forced or early marriages, Hersi said....
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, writes in class. Five girls this year also left for forced or early marriages, Hersi said. Young, reluctant brides are not unheard of in Somalia, but they are less common in good times, he said, at least in Dollow. "Before the drought, the cases were less," he said, an inflatable globe hanging from the ceiling of his classroom. "Some parents do give their children to other men to get that money."

REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3P
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (rear C) stands in a daily morning queue to recite verses of the Koran and national songs...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (rear C) stands in a daily morning queue to recite verses of the Koran and national songs before the beginning of class. No one knows how many families are making choices like Zeinab's. "While we don’t yet have firm data, we understand from some reports that the numbers are small but increasing, particularly in the south and central regions," said Jean Lokenga, chief of Child Protection for the United Nations Children's Fund in Somalia. Other aid groups said most drought-stricken families are too poor to pay dowries after their animals died. None knew of a program to help girls like Zeinab.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4P
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, (R) cleans her feet before going into class at school. Hersi took Zeinab to a local aid group,...
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, (R) cleans her feet before going into class at school. Hersi took Zeinab to a local aid group, who took her to Italian aid group Cooperazione Internazionale. The regional coordinator, visiting on a trip with EU donors, decided to intervene. "We must do something for this girl," said Deka Warsame, pouring tea for colleagues gathered to hear the story as the call to prayer sounded through the rooftops. "Otherwise it will be a rape every night."

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W4L
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, walks to school. Her staff held a collection and came up with enough cash to repay the dowry....
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, walks to school. Her staff held a collection and came up with enough cash to repay the dowry. Warsame told Zeinab the group would mediate a meeting between the men of the two families. Her husband would get back his money if he divorced her in front of witnesses. Zeinab's dark eyes flicked up from the floor. "Will I be free?" she asked.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3O
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, reads an English book as she sits inside her shelter. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, reads an English book as she sits inside her shelter. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
AFRICA-HUNGER/SOMALIA
RTX34W3N
April 10, 2017
Zeinab, 14, looks in a small mirror as she brushes her teeth using a chewing stick inside her shelter....
DOLLOW, Somalia
The Wider Image: A daughter's freedom weighed against her siblings' lives
Zeinab, 14, looks in a small mirror as she brushes her teeth using a chewing stick inside her shelter. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
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