Education, hope for the future!
Empowering children through safe and child-friendly learning spaces in Qoloji, Somali Region.
School is the second most important learning environment for children after home.
But what happens if they lose one? or both? It’s a difficult thought to contemplate, and even harder to dream of having a better future. Yet this is a reality for many children displaced by drought and conflict in Ethiopia.
Qoloji, the Somali region of Ethiopia, is one among many that has been affected by drought, creating significant barriers for children to obtain education. In response to this, UNICEF, with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is actively working to ensure these children as well as the host community children have access to fundamental education and the opportunity to thrive.
The UNICEF-supported Qoloji Primary School in the region has been successful in creating a secure and nurturing environment for these children. When entering the school compound, one cannot help but be uplifted by the pure joy of the children. The opportunity to learn helps them move forward beyond the challenges they face.
Whether it’s for the day or the future.
These children smile for hope.
They smile to cope, but most importantly.
They smile for a place to call home.
“My favorite subject in school is the Somali language because it’s my mother tongue and I find it easier to understand when I study it,” Says Ferha Beshir, a 4th grader student of Qoloji primary school. “I want to become a doctor when I grow up and provide medicine to my people”.
For Mohammed Abdukarib, environmental science is his favorite subject in school. “I love environmental science because I like learning about my community and the surroundings,” he says. “I want to teach it to my friends and do more on the environment across the region.”
9-year-old Hamda Shakir also agrees with Mohammed. The environment matters most to her as well. “I like environmental science very much, I want to become a teacher and share my knowledge of the subject with others,” she says.
The school provides an open platform for these children to express their emotions and inner thoughts. Whether it’s through words or the activities they engage in, these children have a channel to put their energy into something positive and productive.
Qoloji primary school is one example that shows the dedication of the teachers, the resilience of students, and the transformative power of education. This school is a constant reminder that even in the most difficult circumstances, hope can still be restored.
Outside the classroom, the playground is a hive of activity where children sit around, learning and playing games with their friends. Doing all this gives them coping mechanisms and a sense of purpose to move forward. In doing so, the school follows a holistic approach to educate and support the physical, mental, and social well-being of the children.
To this end, UNICEF and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs are committed to building additional schools in the Somali region so that more displaced and host community children have access to education and simply be children, shining with happiness and hope for the future.