Very few people have heard of Somaliland. Officially still part of Somalia, Somaliland declared itself an independent democratic republic on May 18, 1991, and has been building its nation ever since.
Photographer Chantal Heijenen travelled the region and documented the Somaliland people who are building the democratic institutions.
Chantal Heijnen: ‘The great thing is that Somaliland is relatively stable and quiet. There is a lack of all kinds of things, but it moves slowly forward, ironically without any significant help from the outside world. The UN for instance has not officially recognized Somaliland, so there is no help from their part. I made a series of the people who are in gouvernement, justice, police or eductation. The ones that are building the country.
What was very nice, was that the Somaliland newspaper ‘Jamhuuriya’ published my photographs twice a week from December 10 – February 21, 2011. A total of 20 publications that symbolizes the 20th anniversary of Somaliland. I have the original copies of these newspapers and they are used for a book. The newspapers are here during this event as well.’