This Is How Yoga and Surfing Is Helping Young Somali War Victims

Somalia is one of many countries in the world that has been struggling and experiencing a series of unfortunate events. But amongst all these dark days there is hope and improvement. One of many activists and organizations who are rebuilding the country is the Elman Peace Center that is using some special methods to help young war victims.

“Elman Peace is a non-profit organization, founded in 1990 and is dedicated to promoting peace, cultivating leadership and empowering the marginalized brackets of society to be decision makers in the processes that ensure their wellbeing.” – Elman Peace

source: Elman Peace

Somalia has one of the most beautiful oceans and one of the longest coastlines in mainland Africa. Unfortunately, this part of Somalia has created traumatic experiences for many young Somalis. It was 2011 when the country’s misfortune seemed to be over and peace was in sight. Many Somalis saw this as an opportunity to enjoy their breath-taking beaches. However, these people only became target for terrorists and young kinds became victims of sexual violence. The happy times were quickly over, and these beaches became reminders of traumatic events. 

source: Elman Peace

For years Ilwas Elman, the daughter of peace activist Elman Ali Ahmed and social activist Fartuun Adan, has been supporting these war victims under the Elman Peace organization that she founded together with her mother and her sister Almaas Elman in honour of her father who died during his fight for peace. In 2019 her sister Almaas who was an aid worker in Somalia was killed. 

The activist has been using all kinds of methods to help out. One of these methods is the Ocean Therapy. She uses the ocean to heal young girls and boys who are victims of traumatic experiences. Waterside meditation, yoga, surfing, water games and other activities are used to treat and recover their trauma and stress. Water becomes a safe place for children to talk about their experiences, feelings and mental health. 

source: Elman Peace

Other works done by the organization is the Sister Somalia center, “the first rape crisis center in Somalia”, and skills trainings that prepare young adults for a better future.