Tuesday April 2, 2019
Asha Dalmar, photo: Abdirahman Mohamed/Radio Ergo
(ERGO) – Having been blind for half a
century and never giving up on her dream of education, a 53-year-old
Somali woman from Puntland is finally living her dream at a school for
Asha Dalmar lost her sight as a small child in the late 1960s when
her family was living in a rural part of northern Somalia’s Togdher
“I was two years old when I lost my sight” Asha narrated. “I cannot
figure out the cause. I think it was in 1968 based on what my father
When drought hit their village in 1980, Asha moved to Mogadishu to
stay with a relative. It was there much later on that she discovered
that education for the blind was possible.
“The news that there is education for disadvantaged people came to my
knowledge only in 2000 from a relative, but I did not know where to
start,” she said.
For a brief four months in 2005, on returning to the north to live in
Burao, she started classes at a new school for the blind. Sadly the
school closed due to lack of funds, but it had given her the taste of
what it would be like to be able to read and write.
“During that short period, I managed to learn the Braille alphabet. I
also learnt how to dial numbers on my phone, as I always use my phone
to keep in touch with my family,” she said.
Last year, she heard about Basra School for the blind in Garowe. She
made arrangements for other relatives to take over care of her elderly
father and went to Garowe determined to enroll.
Taking up the story, Sa’adia Khalif Mohamud, deputy head teacher of
Basra School, says they were impressed by Asha’s commitment to
memorising the Holy Quran and enrolled her in February.
“We have rented a room for her and the school is ready to provide her
accommodation and transport to and from the school. We hope that this
support continues as long as she is in the school,” she said.
The school, established in 2008, is funded by Puntland state government.
An elated Asha told Radio Ergo that she was delighted to have resumed her education and has even bigger dreams for the future.
“I now am able to read and write using Braille and I am learning
Arabic and religious studies. I expect to complete my education course
here in two years,” she said.
“Then I want to become a teacher and stand up to support my fellow blind people. Education is very important for all of us.”