Shaping young minds
Good teachers are key to reaching education goals in Somalia
In Somalia, schools play a critical role in providing many children some sense of stability and a normal life – a place to learn and spend time with friends.
With the support of skilled and motivated teachers, children can be equipped to succeed in school and lead fulfilling lives.
"My parents motivated me to be a teacher. When I was a child, I liked to help my schoolteacher and my siblings at home as I was the first person to be educated in my family,” says Fartun Abdiaziz Abdullahi with a big smile. “I was inspired to teach and pass on what I learnt to the younger generation,” she adds, surrounded by a group of eager students.
Fartun is a strong advocate for giving all children the opportunity to go to school. “It is important that every child has a chance to learn so that they can support themselves and their parents,” she says. “Education allows them to compete with the outside world and other educated people. This gives hope in life and allows them to support their people and their country,” she explains.
Ready to foster her students’ learning, Fartun and her colleagues are aware that education is a critical lifeline to some children in Somalia.
Schools can protect children from abuse and physical dangers around them. Going to school can also bring stability and help some children to cope with the trauma they have experienced during the conflict. “If children don’t get a chance to go to school and learn, they are at risk of many things. They could be forced to marry early, be vulnerable to sexual abuse, be exposed to child labour, or become drug addicts or child soldiers," she says.
Not only studying but also teaching is at times a challenge. Last year, COVID-19 disrupted the school year and closed many schools for months. In a conflict-ridden environment, teachers often also experience the same disturbance, violence and displacement as their students. Despite the challenges, they persevere.
“I love to serve my community and I’m inspired to educate young minds,” explains Yusuf Abdirahman Mohamed, a colleague of Fartun.
“During the difficult times, the community’s support keeps me and my colleagues going,” elaborates Abdirizak Ibrahim Abdi, the head teacher of the school. “By educating the children, we can leave a strong, positive legacy and the thought of it inspires me,” he says.
UNICEF Somalia is working with the Government and other partners to recruit and train teachers and provide them with support that prepares them to respond to needs of the students and gives them a chance to reach their full potential.
On the International Day of Education, UNICEF Somalia commends all the dedicated teachers around the country for bringing education to life by imparting knowledge and equipping children with the right tools to learn and thrive.