Finding Hope at last! A second chance for refugee students in Somalia
"I was only six years old when I experienced the worst nightmare of my life. Something that left me filled with grief and fear,’’ says Laki Muse* as she recalls how she left her home in Ethiopia to seek refuge in neighboring Somalia.
“My parents had been falsely accused and arrested for hosting Oromo liberation Front— a rebel movement seeking independence from Ethiopia. Two of my family members were murdered, and many others were left injured in front of my eyes,” she said.
Laki* is now 20-years-old but she still remembers the pain of losing almost everyone she loved and making that painful journey to unknown lands. But today is different. She has a bright smile, optimistic for a brighter future because she has just received a scholarship to study in Turkey for a bachelor’s degree four years.
“I’m so excited. I cannot believe that this is happening to me. Now, I can dream of a better future. I appreciate all the support I received from Save the Children and other people that allowed me to get this opportunity.”
Laki is among the hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers who are supported by Save the Children in Puntland under the Education Assistance to Refugees and Asylum seekers program funded by UN Refugee agency. Among other things the programme supported her to attend school by providing for school fees, uniforms and other learning materials since 2007. The project seeks to respond to the educational needs of 2,186 children (2,024 primary school students, and 162 secondary school students), by expanding their access to equitable and quality primary and secondary education.
The children are from refugees and asylum seekers from Yemen and Ethiopia who currently live in Bosaso, Gardo and Garowe districts in Puntland state of Somalia.
When Laki arrived in Garowe from Ethiopia, she felt safe and encouraged to start afresh. “It felt as I was given a second chance in life.” “I was free; our neighbours were so welcoming they brought us food and helped us settle down.” But her biggest challenge was access to education. “Here in Somalia, the biggest challenge was learning and I didn’t have anyone to help me pay my school fees,’’ she says.
‘’Through this programme, I was able to pay for my school fees and finish my studies. I got really good results in high school so I was encouraged to seek for further opportunities. That is when I came across the Turkish scholarship opportunity. I applied and luckily I got through. I see bright future for me and my family despite the challenges we faced.”