9/28/2020
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Somali pastoralist, aged 72, lives his dream of getting an education


Tuesday July 28, 2020

Never too late to learn for Abdirahman Mahamud Mohamed, pictured outside his school in Qarqora, Mudug/Ergo
Never too late to learn for Abdirahman Mahamud Mohamed, pictured outside his school in Qarqora, Mudug/Ergo


Abdirahman Mahamud Mohamed, 72, was the oldest student to sit for the primary school exams in Somalia’s Mudug region this year.

“I always dreamed of getting a formal education, but circumstances did not allow,” Abdirahman told Radio Ergo.

The establishment by the diaspora community of the first school in his rural home of Qarqora, 30 km east of Galkayo, provided him at last with the opportunity.

“The proximity of the school here and the encouragement of the teachers is what inspired me to pursue my dream.”

Two years ago, at the age of 70, Abdirahman passed the school’s admissions test. He had learnt basic literacy and numeracy during the rural development campaigns of Somalia’s pre-war government.

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Living his dream has not been a journey without challenges.

“Some of the area residents called me crazy for going to school at this age!,” Abdirahman admitted. “But I was not deterred,. I am determined to continue my education.”

Children in the class were stunned when Abdirahman joined their grade six class. However, they soon became accustomed to him as he made the class more animated and stimulating.

Barre Abdulqadir Ahmed, 15, told Radio Ergo that Abdirahman was a helpful classmate, always assisting other students and encouraging them to make full use of the opportunity to learn.

Abdirahman, who does not have a family of his own, keeps a herd of 40 goats that survived the severe drought three years ago.

“I would have very much liked if this area had a high school, so I could continue my education with the same teachers and administrators who helped me,” he said Abdirahman, pondering where he could move to enroll in high school.

Mustaf Abdullahi Ahmed, headmaster and a teacher at Qarqora school, described Abdirahman as an example to other adult learners. Six adults, two of them women, have been inspired to enroll in the school in the past two years.

Being able to read is an advantage in daily life in the rural areas adding to the respect garnered from old age.

“People here have difficulty reading the destination signs on buses that transport goods to and from here, and Abdirahman is among the few that they call upon for help,” the headmaster said.



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