Hani Abdile Somalia poet

Hani Abdile

“I needed freedom to forget the past, we all needed freedom – a chance to learn”

I am so excited to share my first video on Born Free! And I’m even more pleased to have that space occupied by the wonderful Hani Abdile!

I met Hani Abdile at the Refugee Week Launch where she spoke. I learnt that she was a poet, and recorded her poem ‘Freedom for Education’ which she recited so beautifully even with me sticking a camera in her face! The short poem touches on her early life growing up in Somalia, which she fled at just 17 years old to escape the civil war that was tearing her home apart.

“Day and night fight, day and night fight”

She made the desperate voyage by boat to Australia after traveling across the globe – through Kenya, Malaysia and Indonesia. But that was not the end of her struggle. Hani was picked up by the Australian Navy and taken to Christmas Island where she spent an extended period in detention.

It was during her imprisonment that she found solace in writing poetry – about her memories of war, the crippling effects of the detention centre, and the unconquerable human spirit.

Watch the video below, and don’t forget to choose HD!

Freedom for Education from Isabelle Whitington on Vimeo.

What did you think?

If you loved it as much as I did, and want to see more, Hani runs a program for detained refugees called “The Arrivalists” which encourages them to find strength in themselves. You can see her and other former refugees at Parliament on King (Sydney) every Wednesday from 6.30 pm for $5. It’s a night of poetry, spoken word, slam and a celebration! Make sure to book ahead!


5 thoughts on “Hani Abdile

  1. A moving post. I love the video and poem. Raw and honest in it’s approach, makes it more powerful.
    A really good blog. I look forward with interest to future posts.


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