Home EDUCATION New high school gives opportunity to rural children in central Somalia

New high school gives opportunity to rural children in central Somalia

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A teacher in a classroom. Photo/Khadar Awl/Ergo

(ERGO) – Students finishing intermediary education in Dhabad, 40 km from Abudwaq town in central Somalia’s Galmudug state, now have the opportunity to continue to high school.

The addition of three new high school classes at the free school built by the diaspora has relieved parents of the financial burden of expenses and the worry that comes with having their children far away.

Nuro Osman Shire, a mother of 10, sent two of her boys to high school in Bossaso where they stay with a relative.

She struggles to find the $50 a month to cover their fees and educational supplies, on top of contributing to their living expenses.

“I hassle to pay for it all… every week or so I’m told that they need this or that, so I pay what I can and ask others to lend me money to cover the rest, I worry a lot about them and how they are faring so far from home,” Nuro told Radio Ergo.

With the opening of a high school in Dhabad in August, she can now have her children at home. Nuro plans to enroll her two daughters in high school as well when they complete intermediary.

“My mind is now 100% at ease. We know where our kids are, we know where they school, we know their whereabouts because they’re right here in our area, no more worries!” she said in a celebratory mood.

Hawo Hassan Mohamed, a mother of eight in Dhabad, told Radio Ergo that two of her daughters have enrolled in the high school after a year of idling around. They finished intermediary in 2019 but the family did not want to send them away.

“I could not imagine sending my daughters away, they are too young and vulnerable. Besides, we didn’t have the means and were always hopeful that one day we would have a high school here, and thank God for making that a reality,” she said.

The school principal, Madino Abdi Mohamed, told Radio Ergo that children who completed intermediary education were at risk of falling into drug use or adopting anti-social behaviour, which could now be avoided.

Ahmed Mahdi Isaq, 18, finished his intermediary in 2018. His pastoralist family, who live with a handful of animals on the outskirts of Dhabad, managed to send his two sisters and three brothers to live with relatives in Mogadishu to continue their education, but they were not able to send Ahmed.

“If the high school hadn’t opened here, I probably would have become one of those boys who chew khat all day or, at best, I’d eventually have opened a small kiosk somewhere,” he said.

There are 480 students at the school, around half from the rural areas. The principal said that when the pastoralist families move in search of water or pasture, the school makes arrangements so that their children do not miss out on school.

“Many families recently moved due to failure of the rains. In such cases, they inform us of their intention and we set up informal classes close to where they’ve relocated. We send them teachers equipped with portable blackboards and other supplies. We aim to do everything we can to be flexible for them,” Madino told Radio Ergo.

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