In the Gambella region, four students are determined to go to school
Opening a new school creates hope for refugees and host communities to continue their education
Nyawec Kang (19) and Chuol Ruach (18) are grade 9 students from Tierkidi and Nguenyiel refugee camps respectively. Also, Nyujuk Wiyual (20) is in grade 10 from Pul Kod Kebele (sub district) from the Host Community. They all go to Makod Inclusive Secondary School in Terpham, Itang special woreda (district), Nuer zone. These students are determined to go to school and encourage others to join the inclusive school constructed nearby.
Upon opening of the school, Nyujuk said, “I am so happy that secondary school students do not have to discontinue their education because of distance. I am inspiring my friends in my village to continue their studies as well. Even though the school is constructed beautifully to us, it would be better if schools would incorporate assistive devices for disabled students.”
In the school, there are 15 students with disability, who most of the time skip class because of inconvenience mainly due to lack of wheelchairs.
“I want to help others, especially girls who most of the time stay at home helping their families.”
Chuol Ruach is one of the 2,309 students in the school. Prior to joining this school, he has been attending a primary school education in Nguenyiel camp. He said, “secondary school refugee students suffer to get admission within the camp. Now that Makod inclusive school is open, we can continue our studies.”
Refugee students have low access for secondary school within the camps and for the host communities, students have to travel more than 20kms for secondary schools in Itang Special Woreda.
Nyawec (18), wants to be a teacher, “I want to help others, especially girls who most of the time stay at home helping their families. I usually push the girls around me to go to school and in this school, the number of girl students is better than other schools.”
Among the 2,309 students, 1,128 (girls 262 and boys 866) are from the camps nearby (Nguenyiel and Tierkidi) and 1,181 (girls 302 and boys 879) are from the host community. There are 30 teachers serving the school.
Tut Thariah is an English teacher. He is pleased to see students going to the school, lowering the number of out of school students. He says, “most students used to either travel long distance to go to secondary school or stay at home and support their parents in the field. Currently, we have a well-built school which teaches both refugee and host community students.”
With UNICEF’s leadership and coordination, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) funded the construction of the inclusive school. In addition, school materials are also provided to the school including 346 desks and 868 chairs. The secondary school has 4 blocks with 16 classrooms, 1 library block with shelves and desks, 3 laboratory blocks with stools and demonstration tables, students’ latrine (separate block for boys and girls), staff latrine, Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) block (with mattress, tables, sanitary pads, towels, and soaps), and built-in blackboards, admin block, staff offices, ICT, pedagogy room and guard house.