Here & Now chatted to Libin Mohamed, a 15-year-old who came to the UK as a refugee from Somalia after her mother was shot and wounded.
NOW SETTLED IN WORTHING, Libin combines caring for her mother with her studies, volunteering as a Youth Advisor for Worthing Community Chest and being an elected member of Worthing Youth Council.
After coming to the UK, we lived in London. My parents wanted to visit Brighton one day, but they got on the wrong train and ended up in Worthing. My mum liked it so much that they kept getting the wrong train back to Worthing. Then there were riots where we were living, so when I was two my mum moved us to the place she liked. I love the security and friendliness of Worthing. You can meet new people so easily, and there are opportunities for me here that I don’t think I would find in London.
When were you happiest?
That’s easy; it was when I was trusted to co-chair the Worthing Community Chest AGM last year! My mum came and saw me up there presenting from the throne in the Council Chamber in front of all those people and she was so proud.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
It was the first time I tried to make a speech at the Youth Council and completely mucked it up.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
I would bring back the big old mobile phones like they had in the first series of Friends. Then there’d be no pressure to spend money on the latest phone every few months, we could just talk to people instead of doing everything through social media (which can be good for some things, but not for the bullying and hacking and negative images we see), and my studies wouldn’t be disturbed every time my phone pings or flashes. Plus it would keep us all healthier carrying around those 1kg brick phones!
Who would play you in the film of your life?
The donkey from Shrek. It feels like we’re on the same journey.
Which book or piece of music changed your life?
Malala Yousafzai’s biography. I read it when my lovely English teacher gave it to me when I was 12, and it changed my life. I always thought I had to wait until I was older to do anything significant, but knowing she is a Muslim girl like me, I was inspired by the difference she has made to herself, her family, her country and even the world.
Who would you invite to party with you on Worthing beach?
I’d invite our town crier! He is such a fun and smiley person! He is always at events, ringing his bell. He makes me laugh and feel happy and I think he symbolises for me that Worthing is not your ordinary, boring town but full of character, just like him!
What single thing would you do to improve Worthing?
I would create more social gathering places, like community houses or youth houses. There was one down my street where I got the opportunity to meet other people, go to places and try things like horse-riding that my mum couldn’t take me to. I know it’s hard to believe but I wasn’t very talkative and I didn’t get out much and we didn’t meet our neighbours until I went there. It’s a shame that places like that have closed down because there’s no funding. I would also like Worthing to be a bit more culturally diverse.
What would you donate to Worthing Museum?
I love my Somalian heritage, so maybe some information about my life and the stages I went through living in this country, starting from my parents’ refugee background.
What event did you last pay to go to in Worthing?
Does the Race for Life count? I paid to do that along the seafront promenade and I raised sponsorship and bought the t-shirt. That’s all I can do to help at the moment, but maybe when I am older I can find a cure for cancer.
Thanks Libin! If there’s someone you would like to see us interview for 50 Sides of Worthing, let us know at