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Somalia, 19 December 2016: First time pupil Malyun determined to ensure others can follow

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Taxte
Malyun Abukar play with a skipping rope with other school girls in the UNICEF-supported Gafaay School in Jowhar. Although she is 10, this is her first year as a student because previously there was no school in the village.

By Mohamud Hashi

JOWHAR, Middle Shabelle, Somalia, 19 December 2016 – The village where ten year old Malyun lived never had a school so she had never even seen inside a classroom. However now she is an enthusiastic pupil in Grade 2 where her favourite subject is science.

Malyun comes from a minority group, the Bantu, which have suffered marginalization. Help came in the form of Educate A Child (EAC) and UNICEF, which supported the building of the school which Malyun and four of her siblings now attend and provided incentives to the teachers to help them continue teaching.

Malyun is an enthusiastic student who loves helping her fellow students with their studies. After school she helps her mother with chores at home before settling down to read with a small battery-powered lamp.

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Taxte
Malyun Abukar explains a mathematics problem to her fellow pupils at Gafaay School. She wants to be a teacher to help her community from the Bantu Minority when she finishes her education.

“I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” she says with a smile. “I want to make sure that my community is literate. And I will continue to advocate for children here to pursue and complete their education.”

Somali children often do not attend school because of illness and poor health. Learning about health and hygiene is as important as reading and writing and Malyun is an active member of the School’s Child to Child Committee informing other students, her family and community about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness.

“I will continue spreading messages related to prevention of acute watery diarrhoea and cholera and also persuade everyone to keep our school clean,” she says.

The EAC programme works with local authorities and communities to build child-friendly schools, train teachers on proven teaching methodologies, empower the local communities to take ownership over children’s education, and encourage children to participate in their schools through Child to Child clubs.



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