Science | PSHE

Mo Farah reveals he was trafficked aged nine

Are setbacks the key to success? An unsettling question because nobody wants a child to suffer. But many credit early hardship with the drive that brought them future glory. The famous athlete stares at the camera. “Most people know me as Mo Farah, but it’s not my name or it’s not the reality,” he says. “The real story is I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin… I was brought to the UK illegally under the name of another child.” This amazing revelation is made in a new documentary, The Real Mo Farah. It tells of how the Olympic championFarah won gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. runner survived a terrible childhood. When he was four his father was killed in Somaliland’s civil war. Hussein and his twin brother were sent by their motherFarah was reunited with her in 2000.   to live with an uncle in DjiboutiA country in the Horn of Africa whose southern border is with Somaliland.. There he was told that a woman would take him to the UK to live with relatives. But first he would have to change his name. Sadly, nothing turned out as he expected. The woman, who had children of her own, treated him as a slave: “If I wanted food in my mouth, my job was to look after those kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them, and she said, ‘If you ever want to see your family again, don’t say anything'.” Farah eventually told the truth to his PE teacher at Feltham Community College. He was sent to live with a friend’s family, where he had a much happier time. Even when he met his future wife he was reluctant to admit who he really was. But bringing up a family encouraged him to speak out: “Family means everything to me and, you know, as a parent, you always teach your kids to be honest.” Many other successful people have had to overcome early setbacks. Oprah Winfrey ran away from home and at 14 gave birth to a baby boy who died shortly afterwards. Benjamin FranklinA writer, politician, diplomat and scientist who pioneered the use of electricity and was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. had to leave school at 10 and start working for his father. And Jim CarreyThe actor’s father was a musician who could not find enough work. At one point the family had to live in a van. had to drop out at 15 to support his family. Are setbacks the key to success?

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