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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
In pictures: Somali play centre

Somali children

Somali children have grown up only knowing war. But in Wajid, a town west of Mogadishu, they are able to be themselves in the country's only purpose-built play centre.

Somali boy holding a poster

Children have been learning to paint and draw since the centre opened in February. Inevitably, much of their work is shaped by the war - as with this picture by Feisal.

Somali boys playing football

Mohammed, 15, (middle) loves football. "I hate all the fighting," he says. He thinks children have to take more responsibility in helping end the 16-year conflict.

Child looking sad

The lack of a functioning government means many Somalis in the area live in abject poverty and families are often unable to feed their children adequately.

Somali woman Mrs Hibo Awale

Hibo Abdi Awale willingly sends her five children to the centre. Before, like others, they "were just idlers in town", she says.

Somali girls getting water from a well

Fatuma Ahmed Hassan says Wajid is an example to Somalia. "Here there are two clans who fought a bitter war, but now we are friends. One day Mogadishu will be the same."

Somali boy Mustafa holding a poster

Mustafa hopes Somalis will tire of war before he grows up. [Pics & text by BBC's Noel Mwakugu, courtesy of World Vision]

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