Education brings on feelings of normalcy and hope
School programme supported by UNICEF and partners has big impact
Three years ago, Kowsar Warsame used to live with her father and four siblings in a small village outside of Belethawa town, Somalia, where they had a herd of livestock. However, the prolonged drought in Somalia devastated the family farm, and they had to leave their home to find food and water. Her mother passed away that same year, and Kowsar’s father took responsibility for the children.
In Belethawa, where it is their new home, Kowsar’s father managed to enrol all the school-aged children in class except Kowsar, as she was helping her father with the house chores and taking care of her siblings.
During their routine activity, Education Mobilizers from Himilo Relief and Development Association (HIRDA) came across Kowsar’s tent while she was taking care of the young siblings. The team tried talking to her, but she was too nervous to talk to strangers and hid from them. After a few visits, the mobilisers could discuss the benefits of educating all females with Kowsar’s father.
Without hesitation, he enrolled Kowsar in Bananey primary school the next day. She was assigned grade one through the placement test. Kowsar had little background in education because she had attended Alternative Basic Education (ABE) classes in her home village.
On her first day of school, Kowsar met with girls her age and learned about their experiences at school. Muslima, Kowsar’s schoolmate and Child-to-Child Club Chairperson, welcomed her. “Half of our school's children come from families displaced by the drought. We have benefited from this free education,” she said.
The Government of Germany supported Joint Resilience Programme; UNICEF and HIRDA provide education kits, backpacks, textbooks, clean drinking water, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), latrines and dignity kits to the school. Students like Kowsar also receive a cash grant of five dollars monthly through a cash voucher on E-Dahab.
This programme provides girls with education and dignity through Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). It trains them on proper maintenance to increase regular school attendance, minimising the risk of adolescent girls’ dropping out of school.
Kowsar, the only female in her family, still supports her family by doing the daily chores in the evening, after school. Even so, she is among the children who attend school early to get a head start on the day. Kowsar says, “After high school, I want to join university and become an advocate for women. I want to help every woman in rural villages, especially my birth village of Daqarey, free from discrimination, torture, rape and neglect.”