22 February 2012
Last updated at 19:31 ET
As the UK hosts a major conference aimed at ending two decades of conflict in Somalia, Faduma Aden Mohamud, 37, explains how she manages to survive in Mogadishu, selling samosas and cold drinks in a refugee camp to support her large family.
At the moment I am caring for 10 children – eight of them are mine and also two orphan babies. The babies belonged to my brothers – three of them, my beloved relatives, have been killed in the fighting since 2009 when Ethiopia troops withdrew from the city.
I am originally from the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia. In the last six years my family and I have moved from place to place. Several times we have fled to the countryside. We have been in this camp shack in south-west Mogadishu since 2009.
My husband has no work at all. He often stays at home without anything to do. At times he helps out at the shop when I go to the market, but mostly I am the one who works and my eldest daughter, who is 13, helps me by looking after the children while I'm away.
Early in the morning I go to the market to buy things and then come back home and prepare the samosas. Then I go out and sell them to the residents nearby. I work the whole day and most of the time, praise be to God, I get enough to feed my family. Although a few times I have made nothing at all.
With all the struggle and strife, we encounter a lot of difficulties particularly during fighting and shelling. The children get very frightened.
For instance the other day when I was in my teashop there were skirmishes and explosions. The children ran away from our house to look for a building with concrete walls for shelter and safety.
But while they were away, thieves came to search some of the hand-built houses in the camp and looted some clothes from our neighbour. That happens quite often.
But at the moment, in general, security seems to be improving. We can go to Bakara Market [Mogadishu’s main shopping area] even though there are sometimes explosions.
When Somalia was at peace we could easily manage to survive. There were people who had money and even if you cleaned clothes, you could get enough money to sustain your family - but now everyone is poor and you cannot find such employment.
In our camp we don’t depend on food assistance from aid agencies; we do hard work to gain our daily bread – although several times in the past my family has received some food relief.
I was able to start my little shop after saving up money from selling samosas and other cheap food. This enabled me to buy stock. I do not have to pay rent for the shop shack.
We live indeed in hard circumstances and we don't know how things will turn out. Shall we get peace or will this anarchy remain forever? I have no time to listen to radios to get the latest news, but I have heard from people about the London conference.
I would suggest those Somali leaders should talk to each other and think about peace and the problems of the people they represent. I hope for peace and stability, nothing else. (Photos, except No 7, Feisal Omar / Interview BBC Somali Service's Mohamed Moalimu)