Thursday 5 March 2020



By Save the Children and Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA)


When seven-year-old Awes first arrived at Marino IDP camp back in 2017, he was miserable.  Apart from leaving his friends back in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya where he lived all his life, dropping out of school was more heart-breaking for him. “I was unhappy leaving my friends from Elnino Primary School  (in Dadaab) and my schooling, ” said Awes.

Dadaab was home for  Awes’s family for over nineteen years. His father died in Dadaab, leaving his mother, Fatumo (49) as the sole breadwinner for Awes and his six siblings. When they were repatriated to Kismayo in 2017, all the children had to drop out of school.

In Dadaab, education was free and accessible to all children.  In Kismayo however,  most schools were charging approximately 10 USD per month for each child to access education. This amount was unmanageable for Fatumo to raise for all of her six children. As a result, only three of the children were able to enrol in school, while the other three including Awes had to stay at home to take care of household chores.

“I was sad when my mother told me that I would not be able to attend school because she could not afford it,”, Said Awes. Drawn from the minority Bantu community, Awes’ mother was not able to get access to an income and has been forced to work in construction sites. The money she makes per day, which is about five USD—was barely enough to meet the family’s basic needs.

Fortunately, Awes and his two siblings were one of the 2,378 children in Kismayo, who were enrolled during the ‘back to school’ public campaign targeting out of school children. This was conducted by The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA), the local community leaders and Ministry of Education in July 2019.

 Awes was enrolled at Marino Temporary Learning Space (TLS) in Kismayo that is supported by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) Education in Emergencies (EiE) Project, implemented by ADRA and Save the Children. Awes will spend one full academic year at the TLS.

“I am glad that the school was able to enrol me and my siblings. I am now able to continue with my education and my dream of becoming a Quranic schoolteacher is still alive,” says Awes with huge smile on his face.

Awes will be supported to transit to a formal public school (Beder Model School), a public primary school supported by ECHO EiE project. By transiting, to a formal school system, Awes will be able to access sustained free education and have the opportunity to complete the full primary education cycle.

Through the EiE project, Save the Children and its partner ADRA aims to increase access to quality, protective education and build resilience of children affected by displacements and conflicts in Somalia. In addition,  the project will also address some of the identified barriers such as societal gender norms, financial constraints, fear of attacks on education and distress endured by the upheaval from both conflict and disaster.