A pencil is all he wanted to use one day. He did not know when that would ever come to pass but he still kept hope alive and knew that one day he would learn how to read and write like ‘all other adults of my age’. Ali Jamah Farrah is currently a learner at one of the Adult Learning Centres (ALC’s) being supported by the ADRA Somalia led Expanded Participation in Basic Education (EPIBE) Project being implemented in Somaliland and Puntland.
To Ali, who lost his right arm to a gunshot earlier in his childhood, the recent introduction of adult classes in his home village could not have come at a better time. As he narrates his feelings, expectations as well as prior challenges of leading a life with no education, one easily notices his innate desire to succeed; the resolute and gritty fifty four year old father of five was extraordinarily desperate to go to school! “This is my first opportunity to get education and I will work hard so that I succeed,” says a perceptibly gregarious Ali who is kind enough to illustrate to us that he can now be able to tell the time on his recently acquired wrist watch. “It is time for me to go and prepare for my next class”, he says and hurriedly proceeds to class where he sits at his preferred spot – right next to the tutor. “My teacher has grown to like me because I am never late for class nor have I ever been absent and I always participate actively in discussions”, he concludes.
Prior to ADRA’s intervention, Harar Adult Learning Centre in Ainabo District of rural Somaliland was in a very decrepit state with little or no facilities. The ceiling of the classroom had long collapsed and the concrete floor was no more, its place taken over by large fissure patches occasioned by neglect of the classroom. The Centre now boasts of a newly rehabilitated classroom complete with new desks, ceiling and floor.
Moreover, ADRA has also provided stationery to the centre which has recently seen an increase in the number of adult learners.
Moving further East to El Afwein District, one meets the affable Headmaster of Wadaamagoo Primary School Mr. Abdirizack Abdi who is just from chairing a Community Education Committee (CEC) Meeting at the School. “We are planning on the new classrooms commissioning ceremony”, explains Abdi.
The School has recently benefitted from the rehabilitation of twin classroom blocks as well as new desks, stationery and games equipment courtesy of the EPIBE Project. At first glance, the newly rehabilitated classrooms give an impression of stability and tranquillity at the School although this is quite a different sight to the one that greeted the ADRA Somalia assessment team when they visited the school a couple of months ago. The classes were completely run down with doors and windows being virtually non-existent. One of the classroom corners was cluttered with piles of damaged desks and chairs while the second classroom was full of broken wooden windows and doors. The floor was an eyesore! In addition, the classrooms did not have ceilings and what was particularly disheartening was the fact that one of the classes had a roof that was literally waiting to cave-in as soon as the rainy season began. Thankfully, all this is in the past now, thanks to the EPIBE Project.
A shimmering trophy stands out in Mr. Abdi’s recently furnished office. “Our School won this trophy during a recently concluded inter school debate competition”, he smugly proclaims, “And we shall defend it next year!” He affirms. The inter school debates are another component of the EPIBE Project.