(ERGO) – Marin Abdi Ishaq, a displaced mother living in Baidoa, is delighted to have the chance to learn how to read and write with her children in a free school set up by a young volunter woman also living in the camps.
Marin and her four children joined Daryeel school in August, where they are learning mathematics, Somali, and English. The school under a tree has 315 adult and child students from Daryeel, Dawo, and Bulo-Mumin IDP camps.
“The children are learning the alphabet and we try to learn together and help each other. There have been noticeable changes, we couldn’t use the phones properly before! I didn’t know how to count money properly or how to read or write,” Marin said.
Her classes are in the afternoon with 90 other adults, while the children are in class in the mornings.
She leaves her six children including her youngest one year old at home for her neighbours to watch, and when that is not possible she takes the baby with her to class.
Schools in Baidoa normally charge $8-10 a month for such courses and families like Marin’s simply cannot afford the fees with their other pressing demands to buy basic needs.
“There are some people in the camp who haven’t cooked food for days. We can’t cook when it’s raining and have to wait until the rain stops. We only cook during the day. Recently there has been a food shortage,” Marin said.
Marin and her husband and children were displaced from Shan-qalow area in Bakool region after their five-hectare farm was ruined by drought. They joined the camp in June and were allocated a five-metre space to set up a hut.
Marin said they have not received any aid, but her husband earns $2-3 a day from working as a porter. Despite the hardships, she said she is determined to give her children an education and a better future and to improve her own status.
The founder of Daryeel school is Munira Samow Mohamed, 19, who lives in Dawo IDP camp. Munira is a student in grade 12 at Sahal secondary school, where her aunt pays her fees. She is due to complete secondary school this year and feels strongly that others deserve a similar opportunity for education despite being poor.
“What motivates me is that these people are IDPs and I am an IDP just like them. They don’t have access to schools since they are struggling with their situation, and they don’t have the fees to attend school. I thought to myself that they need my services and that’s when I decided that I need to teach them,” Munira said.
She started with an awareness campaign on the importance of education. Residents in the camp started to enroll themselves and their children for the classes. They collected the money to buy books and a chalkboard.
Munira is happy to see her students, old and young alike, all making progress. One of her classmates, Hassan Ali Mohamed, joined her in September to help out as the numbers of students grew.
Hassan teaches two classes in the mornings and Munira teaches another two in the afternoons.
“To teach someone is a noble thing, but as we know there is little education in the area and especially in the camps so for the young IDP children and their parents to get an education its upon us to teach them,” said Hassan.
They are planning to offer middle school classes in the near future so that the current students in primary classes can graduate further in their education.