(ERGO) – Ahmed Abdi Warsame, a pastoralist, has enrolled four of his children at the new free primary school in Dhagahyale village, 45 km from Guriel town in the central Somali region of Galgadud.
“Lack of education has made us backward people, so I thought I should prepare my children for a better future by enrolling them in school,” Ahmed told Radio Ergo.
The school is among seven free village schools in Guriel district set up in the last six months by the active local youth and business communities.
Ahmed spent $64 on school uniforms, books and pens for his children, which he was able to raise from the sale of one of his goats.
He said he was determined to educate his children despite the cost and the fact that they will now not be able to help him herding the animals and doing other chores.
Abdullahi Moalin Hassan, the head of the fundraising group, said they carried out an assessment for a year before coming up with the “Bring some, we’ll add some” cost-sharing programme to run the schools for rural children.
“We cover half of the cost, while the community covers the other half,” Abdullahi explained. “We need children in uniforms, we need rooms, we need teachers, and we need money for the teachers. Residents have raised money to build the schools by selling some of their livestock, and we brought the furnishings, materials and the teachers.”
The schools in Dhagahyale, Biyogadud, Dabarre, Afrah Muse, Elbaraf, Elqorah, and Afagag villages are simple two to four room buildings made of stone or corrugated iron sheets.
Over 500 children took part in a programme to prepare them for school, as most have never been in a classroom.
Fadumo Osman, who lives in Biyogadud, 33 km from Guriel, enrolled three of her five children at school for the very first time.
“It is as if I have been given water after being thirsty for a long time!” Fadumo exclaimed with satisfaction. “There was no school in our area, so my children have not had any education.”
The organisers have raised $8,000 for the rural schools, some of which they put aside to pay teachers’ salaries. Fourteen teachers, with monthly salaries between $150 to $200, have been hired. Funds were also used to buy school uniforms for the families that could not afford to buy them for their children