Somali Man Sought Refuge In Cairo Now His Passion Is To Run Its Streets


By Muhammed Aladdin

In 2007, when the conflict in Somalia first broke out, Guled Nur Hussein had no other option but to flee his home. Now, almost a decade past the war, he is running again, but this time, it is out of passion.

For the past six years, Guled has been running all over his adopted-homeland, Egypt, getting to know Cairo one street after the other. The Somali refugee has run in marathons and endurance races all over the country as well, and his prized kit bag has only gotten bigger with time.


In a heartwarming piece by the UNHCR in Egypt, Guled explained that his passion for running stems from the deep sensation of freedom that he gets, whenever his heart is pounding and his legs are striding. His running helps him cope with the stress that he is feeling and his longing for home.

As violence enveloped Somalia, and with Guled’s father lost his life as a victim of it, he knew that he can no longer stay in his home country and ran for his life. He crossed the borders to Egypt and then sought refuge in Nasr City’s Somali community. There, he spent his time teaching Somali children English.

With time, his passion for running grew. “Running took me out of my home, my neighborhood, for the first time, because before, I never even knew the neighborhoods in Cairo itself,” he recalled in a statement to the UNHCR. Today, however, he is proud to have participated in marathons, decathons, and other obstacle races in places as far away as Gouna, Sharm El Sheikh, Aswan, Ismailia, Fayoum, and Alexandria. He has made many close friends in Egypt’s running community.

Running is not Guled’s only area of expertise, as in 2013 he was hired as a refugee interpreter for the UNHCR providing interpretation services in English and Somali. His hard work saw him become the Interpreters’ Coordinator, supervising twelve other interpreters.

In addition, he has successfully completed the Cairo Community Interpreter Project training, which helps hone the skills of interpreters working with refugees and migrants.

However, despite the many achievements, Somalia is always on his mind. He speaks of family members he deeply misses and places in his home country he wants to visit.

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