Of course Nasteexo is economically disadvantaged but not poor in mind or spirit.
Nasteexo Abdulkadir is a 13 years old girl. She has seven siblings, and she is the oldest of seven raised by a single mother. Nasteexo lives in Yibaayil rural area which is 95km away from North east of Garowe, the capital city of Puntland State of Somalia. Nasteexo neither attended school before nor does she dream one day she will have the opportunity to go to school. Of course Nasteexo is economically disadvantaged but not poor in mind or spirit. Nasteexo is third girl from the left and sitting forward. Luckily, today Nasteexo is going to Alternative Basic Education Mobile School established by SFS in partnership with UNICEF, Ministry of Education and Save the Children.
On Nov 27, 2012 mission from SFS namely (Abdurashid Ali, Jamal Elmi, Bashir Jama, Mohamed Yusuf, and Yassin Saed.) The purpose of the field mission was included but not limited to oversee and observe the progress of alternative basic education centre established in Yibaayil four months ago, to mobilize the community and raise awareness campaign about importance of education, to meet with parents, teachers, students and community members and discuss challenges and opportunities. The mission and everyone else in the area gathered shade of the Alternative Basic Education Center. Of course it was dust and no chairs were available. At least the community members and students were excited because they have a school. The meeting began. The parents, elders and teachers spoke about the community needs and how much this school played the role to educate their children. They mentioned we have contributed this school with our limited resource because the budget allocated wasn’t enough.
Now it was the time students should spoke, moment of silence struck, children, giggled, murmured and looked each other. Anyone could notice all of the students did not want to speak. You could tell they were nerves and shy. The parents “Children speak” noised. NO child spoke.
Muuse Muumin who was the oldest in Yibaayil rural community briefed the mission and told another interesting story. And the story was, “During my teenage years, I vividly remember selling a camel in order to exchange for two bed sheets, so that my colleague could get married.” Children and adults laughed. May be children were wondering was his colleague was naked or what?
The elder (Muumin) askedNasteexo to stand up and speak, Nasteexo looked at her mother who was sitting on her left side with other mothers. Was Nasteexo afraid of her mother or she was asking a permission to speak?
The mother nodded and everyone in the gathering clapped for Nasteexo. Nasteexo stood up and spok.
Nasteexo stood up confidently and spoke briefly. She said “We need a flag for our school, chairs, rest rooms, uniforms, barkets and teachers.” She also appreciated the organizations and everyone else contributed.
The mission appreciated and acknowledged how briefly Nasteexo summarized the needs of the school. Hence SFS team and everyone else may wonder where flag can play a role of teaching and learning. Abdurashid Ali, SFS Executive Director asked Nasteexo “Puntland Flag or Somalia Flag”. Nasteexo responded “Somali Flag”.
SFS in partnership with UNICEF, MoE and Save the children supports two ABE mobile schools, one ABE Center and three flex schools in Nugaal region namely (Garowe, Sin-U-Jiif, Balay, Yibaayil and Haar-Haar). Yibaayil is the one of the rural communities who had the opportunity to get a school. However, this was pilot initiative and the construction not included the needs Nasteexo outlined her speech.
Over 60 nomadic children attend Yibaayil Alternative Basic Education (ABE) Center. Surely, Nasteexo is one of them. How many like Nasteexos are out there and missing school? Imagine or think how their dreams could be broken. Prof. Mohamed Said Samatar said “60% of the Somalis are nomads, while 47% Somali population are illiterate.” The Prof. added “However, 60% girls do not read or write.” When asked why? He asserted “On the first hand, who gave them the opportunity.”
While the elder, Muumin educating the gathering th density of the area, he said, “Yibaayil is only the place that can host 1000 families, yet their fires don’t see each other. He added it’s mountainous, good for grassing, good farming, and good for the livestock and has natural water”
At the end of meeting another elder approached SFS’s project officer, Bashir Ibrahim Jama and theABE Center teacher and said “From tomorrow, I will send two of my sons to school, and help me get books and pens.” I never thought sending school to them. This meeting has changed my thinking toward educating my children and I am committed to send to school.” He added “I am very happy, I came.” Another parent approached and said “Please include my daughter and she will come with them.” We live in the same area and she will came with them.SFS team looked each other with smile, said to each other and agreed “After all the biggest achievement of our field mission is three more children will go to school”.
“SFS envisions a peaceful, democratic Somalia in which all citizens have a meaningful voice in their government and the opportunity to thrive.” Want to learn more visits www.ussfs.org