(ERGO) – Hared Adan Isaq, 17, is a top performing student despite being deaf and having no access to special educational facilities at the school he attends in a displacement camp in southern Somalia’s Dollow district.
Living in a two-room hut with his family of 12, Hared came second in assessments out of 500 students in his school in Kabaso IDP camp.
Hared, who also is unable to speak, wrote his answers to an interview with Radio Ergo’s reporter. He wrote that he revises his lessons more than three times a day, and uses the internet to find visual resources to help him with his toughest subjects, English and Arabic.
Studying will become harder as he moves to high school, he is aware, but he is determined to reach university to study human rights in order to advocate for the disabled.
Three of Hared’s siblings also have hearing impairments. He goes to the same primary school with brothers Dahir, 12, and Abshir, 10, who are deaf, and Mohamed, 13 who has hearing difficulties, and his sister Sahra, 15.
Hared is the only disabled student in his class of 30. His class teacher, Abdiwali Mohamed Gaas, has been dedicated to helping him as much as possible, even by taking him on a trip to the local abattoir to illustrate a biology lesson.
“I showed him the structure and parts of the circulatory system, and the blood vessels involved. After such practical illustrations I give him an exercise to answer. It motivates me to see my practical tips helping a disabled person,” the teacher said. “It inspires me not to give up and help him learn by all available means.”
The school, which offers free education, is run by local NGO, HIRDA, with support from UNICEF.
Abdiwali said it is very unfortunate that most schools in the country lack learning support for the disabled, who have the potential to excel like Hared if they have the necessary support.
“When someone has an ambition and gets the appropriate or required support at the right time, he will achieve his ambitions. There is no obstacle that can possibly impede such a person,” he declared.
Hared’s family was displaced from their home in Dinsor in Bay region by conflict in 2013 and moved to a refugee camp called Buraminow in Liban zone in Somali Region of Ethiopia. They lived there for three years, where Hared studied maths, Somali language and English. Later they moved back across the border to Somalia and settled in Kabaso IDP camp in Dollow.
Without a farm or livestock, the family relies solely on the income of Hared’s father, Adan Isaq, who used to be a broker in Dinsor’s livestock market.
He has never been to school but told Radio Ergo he believes education is the only way his children can attain a better life.
“I am keen to have my children get education because I myself grew up without education, I don’t want them to become like me. I hope to see them, if God grants me a long life, being successful and able to take care of their parents,” Adan Isaq said.
The family’s hut is patched with pieces of polythene and cardboard in the camps hosting 10,000 families. They depend on food donated in the camp and menial jobs that Adan Isaq finds on local farms or construction sites, earning him about $3 a day.
A local disability association said that most of the estimated 400 disabled children in Dollow are illiterate because they lack access to the support they need for their education.