Temporary Learning Space Provides Hope for Displaced Children in Baidoa
Feeling happy and safe in the classroom
Every morning 11-year-old Adan Maalin leaves the makeshift shelter he stays in with his mother and four siblings in Baidoa, to make his way to Deebwin internally displaced persons (IDP) school, which is a temporary learning space in the camp where he is enrolled. At school is where Adan feels at home, feels safe and is the only place he looks forward to going to everyday. Even if it is only to forget the challenges back home, the school as he describes, is his sanctuary.
Living in internally displaced camps in Somalia can be difficult, especially for children who do not understand life yet and cannot comprehend the reason why life must be this way. Adan and his family fled from their home in the outskirts of Baidoa city due to the ongoing drought and have settled in Deebwin IDP camp in town. He has been taken from his home, his friends, relatives and has lost his way of life as a young child, where he has been forced to start a new life in a strange environment that he is still adapting to.
“For me this temporary learning space is much more than just learning, it is a place where I feel protected, cared for and has given me a sense of stability and routine. Waking up every day to come to school and to learn new things fills me with joy. I thank my amazing teachers who have invested in me and encouraged me, I learned the Somali language quite fast thanks to their patience,” says Adan.
“When I grow up, I would like to become a teacher because I like to help those who have less knowledge. I have seen the power of education and I would like to impart this on as many children as I can, even while at home I try to teach my younger siblings a thing or two that I have learned in school that day,” he adds.
Adan is one among thousands of children in IDP camps in Baidoa that have been forced to flee their homes. “At first Adan was a bit shy and withdrawn and that is understandable since starting school in a new place with a different language, culture and environment can be challenging. However, we have provided him with adequate support and a friendly environment where he can be able to be like any other child, considering this is his first time in school we have started from the basics, including the language so that he can catch up and progress gradually,” says teacher Farah, the head teacher at the temporary learning space supported by UNICEF and partner Educate A Child (EAC), a global programme of the Education Above All Foundation.
The educational programme for displaced children in Baidoa IDP settlements is being delivered with our partner Educate A Child and implemented by UNICEF’s education partner the Bay Regional Education Committee (BREC). Deebwiin IDP temporary learning space, which was constructed in late 2022, has two classrooms. There are currently 120 students enrolled (57 girls and 63 boys), with 5 teachers (1 female, 4 male). The temporary learning space also includes two gender-segregated latrines and a water tank for drinking water and hand-washing.
“Despite the challenges, I feel very passionate about teaching at this temporary learning space, our morale as teachers and that of our pupils is very high. Adan is a bright boy that is eager to learn new things and with the right guidance and support he will grow up to be a young responsible man. As a teacher I have nothing else to give them except my time to educate them and impart as much knowledge as possible,” says Farah. He is a returnee from Dadaab Refugee camp in Kenya, and it is his experience as a refugee in Kenya that has given him the drive and determination to ensure he educates his pupils.
Educate A Child (EAC) and UNICEF believe that every child has the right to a quality education regardless of who they are, where they live or how much money their family has. UNICEF is working in partnership with Educate A Child and the Ministries of Education to enroll and retain in primary school 300,000 out-of-school girls and boys affected by poverty, displacement and crises in the country, by mid-2026.