20,000 Somali kids ‘out of school’ due to hostilities
The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) office in Somalia has expressed concerns over the effect of fighting in the country’s Galkayo region on the education of some 20,000 children.
According to UNICEF Somalia, out of over 90,000 people displaced as a result of fighting in Galkayo – located in Central Somalia – 20,000 children were affected. Fighting in the town began a month ago.
“We must ensure that there are places for children to learn in a safe environment either in temporary spaces or in schools outside town. The children must be given catch up classes and their schools must be protected from further damage,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative.
They observed that all schools in the town have been closed adversely affecting the teaching and learning activities. ‘‘Teachers have been injured, four schools in Galkayo were damaged, and five schools outside the town are closed as they are now used to house some of the displaced. Any schools still functioning are severely overcrowded.’‘
UNICEF noted that along with its partners, there were ‘‘setting up safe temporary learning spaces for the displaced children to allow them to continue their education and are working to ensure that the teachers receive their incentive allowances.’‘
UNICEF said it was also concerned with the continuing physical and emotional stress the forced displacement and fighting may put children and their families under. A child’s right to an education is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Somalia in October last year.
The President of Somalia recently called for support from citizens in the diaspora and the international community to come to the aid of the country in the wake of a hard biting drought that was killing people who died from hunger and thirst.