Around 600 girls and boys under 16 have been enrolled in a free education programme in various displacement camps in the Somali capital Mogadishu, where they are being taught by young university and school student volunteers.
Sulekho Muhydin is a member of the group of 17 volunteer student teachers. She said when she saw how neglected the children in the camps were, without a chance to go to school, she decided with other friends to offer her services as a teacher.
The volunteers collect between $30 and $50 a month among them to support the programme. They also get some donations from universities, schools and diaspora communities.
The group provides basic education classes on Thursdays and Fridays in makeshift classrooms with no desks and chairs. The children come from camps in Kahda, Daynile, Hodon and Lafole districts of Mogadishu.
Mohamed Amin Nur, 12, lives in Hibaaq camp in the city’s KM13 area. “I have never had education before, but now I have got free education!” he told Radio Ergo outside the classroom. “In the future I would like to become a teacher and help poor children using my knowledge,” he added.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the volunteer teachers is that many of the children are working in casual jobs to provide for their families, which affects their regular attendance at the school. Sulekho said they take time discussing with the parents and encouraging them to bring their children to school. They sometimes take gifts of food to the parents as an incentive.
Most of these families, however, are focused on securing adequate food. They are unable to afford the local private schools that charge fees of $12 a month.
Well-wishers have donated some stationery and classroom items. The children do not have any uniform and often lack books.
Source: – Radio Ergo