"I wish to join the university in the future"

Emergency-affected children become resilient and hopeful in Education

Hailu Workeneh
"I wish to join the university in the future"
UNICEF Ethiopia/2022/Hailu Workeneh
13 May 2022

Alensehaye, Chelga, Amhara region - Tarek Denekew, a 15-year-old student, was a grade 5 student when the conflict broke out in November 2018. 

“Our school was burned out and the teaching-learning materials were looted. Our house and belongings were also burned as well as our cattle were looted. My family and I fled on foot to Alensehaye Kebele (sub-district) in Chelga Woreda (district). I felt terrible and sad because my school and house were damaged, our belongings and cattle looted, and we had to leave our village where I was born and grew up,” said Tarek describing the impact of the conflict.

In February 2019, the government provided construction materials for rebuilding Tarek’s and other affected families’ houses and schools and organized peace and social cohesion conferences, which helped Tarek and her family return to their village. 

My classroom is not overcrowded, there is a separate latrine for girls and handwashing facilities.
UNICEF Ethiopia/2022/Hailu Workeneh

UNICEF, in partnership with World Vision Ethiopia and Education Cannot Wait’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme assistance, was able to construct one block of semi-permanent temporary learning space with two classrooms, and a latrine, and provide school furniture. Support was also provided through the recruitment of volunteer facilitators/teachers to teach Accelerated Learning Programmes (ALP), rehabilitate three damaged water points, and provide teaching and play materials. Facilitators/teachers and education personnel were also trained on child rights, child-friendly pedagogy, assessment for learning, and provision of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to improve the quality of learning and resilience of distressed children in emergency-affected areas.

While Gijen primary school reopened in September 2020, Tarek and her six siblings resumed their education. Currently, she is in grade seven and is eager to attend school every day because she feels the school is child friendly.

“My classroom is not overcrowded, there is a separate latrine for girls and handwashing facilities. I fetch and drink clear water from rehabilitated water points. I play volleyball and jump ropes with students from different communities freely. My teachers and directors encourage me when I feel stressed thinking of experiences that we passed through. I feel safe when I am in school. This feeling also helped me improve my learning achievement,” said Tarek.

Last year, Tarek stood 11th, but this year she stood 7th out of 44 students in her classroom.

“I now regularly come to school, take notes, and read supplementary reference books to be able to join the university in the future. I do this to make my dream come true - to become a doctor and help my family and people in my community,” added Tarek.