Teacher Ali Hassan Abdi (23) is doing a job he loves – passing on knowledge to children. Surrounded by smiling boys and girls in the Trócaire supported Taleh Primary School outside Luug in Gedo region, Somalia, he is clearly feeling happy and fulfilled in his role.
Ali’s pupils are children from families who have been forced to leave their homes due to the devastating drought which has seen more than one million people in Somalia food insecure and living in internally displaced camps.
The children in ali’s class don’t have school uniforms, and come to school most days hungry and dirty. But they see hope in the fact that they are able to go to school and learn.
Ali is from Ethiopia, but he had to leave his country with his family and move as a refugee to Somalia due to conflict. He always dreamed of one day being a teacher.
“I am so happy in this school teaching these children. Like them I also have had to leave my home. To be a teacher and to pass on information to others is very special.”
In Somalia Trocaire is currently supporting the employment of 142 teachers, who are educating 8,455 pupils in the districts of Beled Xawa, Luuq and Dollow. The number of schools Trócaire supports has increased from 13 in 2018 to 20 in 2022.
Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school with only 30 per cent of children attending formal education, and only 18 per cent of children in rural households in school.
Social and cultural norms in Somalia favour boys’ education. Less than 50% of those going to school are girls, and the last countrywide survey from 2006 indicates that 25% of women aged 15 to 24 were literate.
However, Trócaire has seen an increase in girls enrolment and retention. Current enrolment stands at 4029 compared to 1638 in 2018 representing an increase of 238%.
According to Ali school is important for boys and girls and plays a critical role in providing children with stability and a normal life, as well as being a place to learn and spend time with friends.
“The children who come to my class don’t have much. Their families are struggling but here they are happy. They also get two meals every day” he said.
“For me I am loving my role and look forward to additional teacher training from Trócaire and to helping educate children giving them hope for the future.