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Asha’s story - A journey to safety and a start to education

Displaced by conflict, Asha (standing) and her family finally made it to the safety of a IDP camp on the outskirt of Mogadishu. She is now a happy student enrolled in the one of the many schools UNICEF supports for vulnerable children like her.

Funding from the Japanese Government helps vulnerable children stay in school and learning

Story and photos by Mohamud Hashi, UNICEF Education Officer

Mogadishu, Somalia, 19 October 2018 - Asha Abdulahi Jama was two years old when her mother died. She is now nine and has lived through more warfare, loss and displacement than most people experience in a lifetime.

In August 2018, fighting broke out between government forces and rebel militias in her hometown of Bulo-Burde, Hiran Region, central Somalia, forcing Asha and her family to flee. They came first to Buqda, then to Beletweyne.

When Beletweyne also became unsafe due to clan conflict, the family was displaced once again. At that point, Asha’s father decided to make the journey to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, some 350 kilometres away from Beletweyne. With Asha and her eight siblings in tow, he eventually made it to the safety of a camp for the internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Kilometre 13 area on the outskirt of Mogadishu.

Asha and her schoolmates enjoy lunch. The free school meal is a huge pull factor to attract new students and keep the current ones in the classrooms and learning.

At the camp, Asha and her three siblings started to go to a school supported by UNICEF through a partnership with Somali Community Concern (SCC). The school is equipped with safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities. The free school meal is also a huge pull factor to attract new students and keep the current ones in the classrooms and learning.

Like all schools supported by UNICEF, Asha’s school is equipped with drinking water and hygiene facilities to make the environment as conducive as possible for the students.

With generous funding from the Government of Japan, UNICEF is supporting 50 schools like this along the Afgooye corridor, a 20-kilometre stretch of road with a huge concentration of IDP settlements outside of Mogadishu. Thanks to such generosity, 10,000 vulnerable children like Asha now have a chance to pursue education, many for the first time in their lives.

In 2017, UNICEF provided education opportunities for 118,000 children and adolescents - 46 per cent of them girls - affected by conflict and drought. And with the support of donors, 120,000 more will be reached in 2018 across the country.

With the generous funding from the Government of Japan, UNICEF supports 50 schools along the Afgooye corridor, a 20-kilometre stretch of road with a huge concentration of IDP settlements outside of Mogadishu.

“I enjoy coming to school, learning and doing recreation activities, which I never had before this school,” says Asha. “I like to play with other girls my age and have lunch together. My dream is for us all to live in peace and harmony.” 

 

 
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