A free school providing education to the children of nomadic families has been established in Adsaran village, 70 km south of Badhan district, Sanag region. The school, housed in a tent, was opened two months ago and is the first school in this location.
Twenty children attend classes daily in two shifts to enable pupils who look after their animals to learn either in the morning or afternoon. Classes start at 7:30am for two hours, and again at 2.30pm until 4pm.
One of the school’s two local teachers, Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, told Radio Ergo the pupils sit on large mats on the floor bought by the village residents. “We lack all school equipment and the tent cannot withstand heavy rains and strong winds,” he said.
The boys and girls are aged from five to 15 years. Some of them live in rural areas around Adsaran and walk 5 km to the school daily.
Maryan Saed Ismail, 32, is the mother to four children enrolled at the school. She told Radio Ergo she was happy her children got the opportunity to go to school. She said that since they were pastoralists, the children were needed to take part in the daily family chores such as looking after animals.
“My children go to the school in two shifts, so when two of them are in class, the other two are looking after the animals,” she said.
The tents were supplied by the Ministry of Education of Puntland State, according to Hayat Mohamed Mohamud, who is in charge of the department of education (under the ministry of education) in Sanag. She said they were planning to pay the teachers’ salaries so that they do not stop teaching in the school.
Prior to the opening of the school, families who were financially stable used to send their children to schools in districts where their relatives live.
The numbers of children enrolling the school is expected to increase if the drought-displaced families return to the village.
“We are expecting 300 children to join the school when their families return to the village,” said Abdirahman Mohamed Gelle, a village elder. He pointed out that education leads to social integration and it creates hope that in the future the educated children will take part in community development programs in their areas.