20 June 2018

Kenya: I'm Ready to Go Rebuild My Country, Somali Refugee Says

Fardowsa Adow Mohamed has not known any other home apart from Hagadera refugee camp since she arrived from Somalia where she was born.

She came to Kenya at the age of two due to inter-clan skirmishes in Somalia.

As she joins millions of refugees around the globe to mark World Refugee Day, she hopes to return to her country of birth to rebuild the image tattered by years of war.

Ms Mohamed says she is willing to use the skills she has acquired at Hagadera back in Somalia.

The 28-year-old woman started her early childhood education at Hagadera where she also did her primary and secondary school exams and despite difficulties and lack of opportunities, she managed to do well.

"I have studied Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) in college where I started with a certificate course and followed by diploma. I am now waiting for my diploma certificate," she told the Nation.

ECDE TEACHER

She is now an ECDE teacher at the same school she went to in what she says is giving back to the community since there are few qualified teachers in the camps. And although the refugees' agency UNHCR and other partners have employed several teachers, they are not enough, she says.

"Refugees are humans being like any other and if given an opportunity they will shine and bring the much-needed change in their home countries," she said.

"I encourage girl, weather refugees or not, to work hard in their studies and make sure they achieve their goals in life. Parents should also give their daughters a chance to study," she added.

BETTER FUTURE

Ms Mohamed says if she gets a chance to go back to her country, she will concentrate on education and building a strong foundation for children for Somalia to have a better future.

At the Dadaab refugee camp, there are 32 pre-school centres, 32 for primary learning and seven secondary school centres. Ther are also 18 primary accelerated learning centres, three secondary school accelerated learning centres and four vocational learning centres.

According to UNHCR, 114,967 children are of school-going age (3-17 years) and constitute half of the population at the camps.

Overcrowding is a major challenge to a safe learning environment at the camps and has been cited as one main reason why most students drop out of school.

According to UN agency, due to uncertainties surrounding the closure of the camps, attendance, transition, and completion rates at all level remains another challenge.

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