UNICEF helps Somali girls in Mogadishu, London and Oslo to make a connection
By Nicola Zim
Mogadishu/Oslo/London 11 October 2013: To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, on October 11, UNICEF Somalia organized a Google Hangout, bringing together Somali schoolgirls in Mogadishu and in the diaspora, via video call technology, to chat about school and their lives. The girls, aged between 12 and 14, sat in front of computer screens in Mogadishu, London and Oslo and asked each other questions in Somali for 15 minutes.
The girls in Mogadishu did not have a computer at their school unlike those in the UK and Norway. They attend a makeshift school in a camp for the displaced in Mogadishu. Thirteen year old Ismahan, one of the girls involved, only started attending school in September and was so keen that she agreed to take her little sister with her to classes to allow her parents to go out looking for food and work. Girls studying in Somalia face many challenges – just over a third of girls are enrolled in school and the dropout rate is high.
Ismahan and her fellow school mates, Fartun, Ayan and Kowsar, travelled outside the camp to an office with a laptop and an internet connection – organized by UNICEF.
On the other end of the Hangout, in London were Aisha, Rahma, Yasmin and Aisha all in Grade 9. Their school has its own Computer Technology programme and teachers. In Oslo, Norway, students Ayan and her friend made an instant connection to the other Somali girls. The girls asked each other questions about school, their favourite subjects, their home and what they wanted to do when they grew up.