In times of crisis, education becomes more than just a right to learn, it becomes a vital lifeline for children. Schools not only protect children from the physical dangers around them including abuse, exploitation, and recruitment to armed groups but also offers essential necessities like food, water, and hygiene supplies. Additionally, they provide crucial psychosocial support, and trauma counselling to help them face the challenges they experience daily. Unfortunately, in Somalia, the primary school gross enrolment ratio remains low, at 14.3 per cent, in comparison to other East African countries (Somalia-Education-Sector-Analysis-Jan-2022). These education gaps are a result of several factors including inadequate learning facilities, a shortage of qualified teachers, a lack of basic emergency teaching and learning materials, as well as challenges related to insecurity, poverty, insufficient food and water, and limited sanitation facilities.
Ismail Hassan Abdi, a cheerful 13-year-old, lives in Alhidaaya IDP camp in the Garasbaley district of Banadir region, alongside his parents and six siblings. They arrived at the camp a year ago after being compelled to flee their home in the rural outskirts of Burhakaba town in Bay Region. This was due to the devastating impact of the severe drought that had ravaged their livelihood. Ismail’s father, Mr. Hassan Abdi Hussein, was their sole breadwinner, relying on livestock to support his family which succumbed to the drought, pressuring the family to embark on the long journey to the IDP camp. Upon their arrival, they were forced to take up temporary shelters and rely on humanitarian aid for their basic needs. Despite their difficult circumstances, the family maintained a positive outlook, hopeful that they would find assistance and support to rebuild their lives.
Internally displaced girls and boys enjoy safe access to inclusive quality education.
In May 2022, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) partnered with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) to support access to quality and inclusive education for children affected by the drought and other crises in Somalia. One of the components of the project was the provision of school fees vouchers. Among the 840 selected beneficiaries of this project was Ismail. With the school fees voucher, Ismail was enrolled at Nadiifo primary school.
The school fees voucher program is allowing Ismail to continue with his education despite the challenges of life in the IDP camp, which previously forced him to drop out of school. One of Ismail’s teachers reported a significant improvement in his literacy and numerical skills over the months. Ismail’s progress can also be attributed to several factors, including the high-quality teaching trainings that the teachers continually receive to strengthen their capacity, the classrooms constructed that offer a conducive learning environment, and the school meals he receives every morning and during lunch, which provides him with the necessary energy and nourishment to concentrate and actively participate in his studies.
“He is a motivated learner, always eager to learn and he participates in class,” Says his class teacher, “He always says that he dreams of becoming a doctor one day to help his community.” She continues.
NAPAD also provided learning materials to the 840 learners in the five targeted schools in the IDP camps in Garasbaley and Kahda districts. Ismail and his school mates received learning materials and study kits such as stationaries and school bags and in addition participated in learner centred GBV dialogues and received psychosocial support. The teachers received monthly incentives and teaching materials and the parents have been learning about children’s rights and the importance of education.
Ismail’s parents are grateful to NAPAD for the support provided to their son and other children in the IDP camp. Ismaíl is also grateful, and he remains dedicated to his education. His aspirations of becoming a doctor reflect his commitment to making a positive impact on his community, and he continues to work hard towards achieving his goals. With the support of NAPAD and DKH and his unwavering determination, Ismail is on his way to achieving his dreams and making a meaningful contribution to society.