Thursday April 9, 2020
(ERGO) – Falis Abdi Hashi and two of her children are studying together in a free school set up by a group of volunteer teachers in Daryeel IDP camp, on the outskirts of Adado town in central Somalia’s Galmudug region.
Falis, a mother of eight, became an IDP after her family lost 20 goats and a camel during the 2017 drought. Her children have never been to school because she could not afford to pay school fees.
Life changed for the better last October, when they enrolled in the camp’s free primary school. She and her children are making up for lost time.“We have gained a lot. My children and I are studying Somali, Arabic, and maths, and we are committed to continue with our education,” she said, adding that she is delighted with the current situation as she never had an opportunity to learn how to read and write.
The primary school, which now has 140 students including 20 adults, had a humble beginning.
Khalid Ahmed Mohamed, the principal, told Radio Ergo that they started with only a blackboard hanging from a tree and mats on the ground for the students to sit on.
“We started from nothing, borrowing things from here and there. You can imagine how it would be to teach a classroom when you don’t have chairs, tables or a blackboard. I just had the idea and other teachers came to help,” he said.
After nine months of operation, the NGO, Mercy Corps, stepped in and built three rooms, including two classrooms and a playroom for the children. Now the school is aiming to expand its intake.
“We take things as they come. As students finish primary education, we are hoping to offer middle and high school level classes, which would of course mean building more classrooms,” said the principal.
Fardosa Ahmed Aalim is pursuing adult education. She goes to the school every afternoon, except Thursdays and Fridays. Radio Ergo asked her about her education.
“I’m learning Somali, maths, Arabic, civics, science and English, and I love them all, especially English, which I was not good at but I now understand well. I
always wanted to get an education and with this opportunity I’m determined to continue until the end,” she said.
The teachers, four male and one female, often go beyond teaching to help the students acquire books and other learning materials.
“When a parent comes to you with their children empty-handed, you have no choice but to help them and buy for them the seven books and other materials they need,” said Khalid, the principal.
Since the school was founded, parents and children in Daryeel IDP camp have opportunities to learn, instead of wasting time at home. The school is open in two shifts every day except Thursday and Friday.