Four schools south of Mudug’s capital, Galkayo, have given free places to displaced children whose pastoralist families have been made destitute by the drought.
Around 135 such children, including 45 girls, aged between seven and 13 are in school for the first time.
The administrations of Abdulahi Isse, Waberi, Mudug, and Al-Sha’ab schools have waived the monthly fee of $10 per child for the displaced children.
Abdiaziz Adan, principal of Al-Sha’ab primary and secondary school, said 46 boys and 21 girls had been enrolled in his school after a committee of local students brought their plight to the school’s attention.
The district administration in southern Galkayo said 4,000 destitute families, who lost their livestock to the drought in rural areas of Mudug, have come to live in IDP camps in Galkayo. Others are staying with their relatives in the town.
Ismail Mohamed, a father of nine, said he seized the opportunity to take his three daughters and two sons to Al-Sha’ab school. His family once owned 170 goats but they all perished in the devastating drought. The family fled from Bitale village, 40 km from Galkayo, at the beginning of last year.
He is delighted to see his children get free education. He is unemployed and his family lives off their relatives. Ismail wants to learn a new trade as he will not be going back to the pastoral life in the rural area.
The principal of Al-Sha’ab said they were encouraging IDP families to bring their children to school. These children are being integrated into existing classes.
Fahmo Hussein, 50, and her six children have been displaced from Kahandale, 130 km from Galkayo. She was worried that she would not be able to afford school fees for her children but a scholarship opportunity from Abdullahi Isse school two months ago enabled two of her daughters, aged nine and 13 years, to start formal education for the first time.
Fahmo, who lives in Hayan camp on the outskirts of Galkayo, fled from the rural areas at the end of last year, after losing her 240 goats. She now depends on her relatives in town for financial support including buying stationery and uniform for her children.