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Never too late to learn – 65 year old farmer joins his children at school

UNICEF Somalia/2017/Vinod
© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Vinod
Four parents join their children to learn at a UNICEF-supported school.

By Hema Vinod and Abduladhif Sheikh – UNICEF Somalia 

Baidoa, Somalia, 20 July 2017 - Sixty-five year old Mohamed Sur sits at the back of the classroom in Beled Amin School in the village of Baidoa, in southern Somalia. He has three children at the school: Janow (10), Habiba (6), and Shamsa (4). But Mohamed is not here to watch. He is one of four parents who have come to learn alongside their children.

A farmer, Mohamed fled from his village of Baanow, 65 kilometres south-west of Baidoa, because of the severe drought that has affected this region. Now, relocated in Baidoa, he was delighted to see his children learning to read and write and wanted to learn the same skills himself.

“I had never attended or even seen a school, so this is an opportunity,” he said. “I wish to learn to read and write Somali and escape from the ignorance that I have suffered all my life.” Mohamed is also well aware of the benefits of numeracy to help him manage his finances. He said he has been cheated many times due to ignorance, and that education is the best means to overcome life’s many problems.

UNICEF Somalia/2017/Vinod
© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Vinod
65 year-old Mohamed Sur shows how he can write his name after attending school with his children.

Established in 2014, the school has two classrooms – one for boys and one for girls. Currently, UNICEF is supporting the school through the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund by providing mini-grants, safe drinking water, teacher incentives, as well as training for teachers and Community Education Committee members.



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