Somaliland: Haldaghan Children’s Difficult Quest for Literacy in Sanaag Region


By: Yusuf M HasanBirdaha under the tree School

HALDAGHAN-ERIGAVO (Somalilandsun) – Efforts by a community of two hundred families residing 47 kms NNE of Erigavo town to educate their children is bearing results but painfully.

The residents of Haldaghan and Mirhedo who are mainly pastoralists are availing their children much needed education at Birdaha School which is under a big tree in the area established by the community four years ago.

“We established this school in 2010 after realizing that the cycle of poverty in our community shall prevail unless our children are educated” Said Captain Ahmed Ali Kula’ade a Somaliland Army officer from the area during a visit to the school by Somalilandsun

Capt Kula’ade who revealed that very few people from the area are recorded to have received any education prior to the establishment of the Birdaha under the tree school, said that spirits are heightened in the community which is now thinking of establishing a secondary school even if it is under another tree.

Said he, “The few people educated from this community had to be moved to Erigavo or other major cities of the country because the nearest school is at Jidhali trading centre which is 7kms away from the nearest residence in our community”

Through school records that are catered to and from home by the teachers due to the non-existence of any offices at the school were the only documentary proof availed Somalilandsun which visited on the 24th August when all schools are on vacation in the country thus classroom work and recorded 93 pupils could not be verified.

The under the tree school which hCapt Kula'ade shows stones used as chairs by pupilsas four teachers is anticipating a record number of new registrations from kindergarten and classes 1-4 as well come this September when schools reopen and ushers in the dawn of major milestone, introduction of class four.

“We have so far recorded 49 applications for new registrations for the coming term while more are anticipated” said Ibrahim Hasan Jama Shire the under the tree school head teacher.

According to the head teacher 28 of the new registrations are for kindergarten while the rest are for classes 1, 2, 3 & 4 being the first time for non kindergarten registrations to occur since the school was established.

The 21 pupils registered for classes 1-4 this year are transfers from other schools especially in the Sanaag regional capital of Erigavo which according to a visibly boastful Capt Kula’ade is testimony to the strides attained by the Birdaha under the tree school.

Birdaha School roof and interiorDespite the captain’s confidence in the achievements and future prospects the Birdaha community school under the tree which provides knowledge to its pupils at no cost is under diverse constraints that require immediate attention which the founders cannot solve alone mainly:

• Classrooms and administration offices since the current set-up results in classes not being held during rainy seasons or when there is adverse heat.

• Desks and chairs for the pupils who are forced to learn seated on haphazardly built stone slabs and for teachers that stand the entire duration of classes.

• Remuneration for the three teaching staff since the fourth who teaches religion is paid by the community.

• School feeding program to facilitate full time attendance of pupils who are sometimes forced to abscond classes in order to tend to family livestock

• Teaching and learning materials like text books and blackboards etc

• Water reservoir

• Toilets as pupils and tutors are utilizing nearby bushes to relive themselves which is very embarrassing especially for girls who currently number 57 of the total 93 and

• A playing field among others.

While appealing for well-wishers financial and material support Captain Ahmed Ali Kula’ade also thank Candle light which is paying the head teacher some allowance monthly and ADEESO NGO for occasional support?

If ever an institution of learning ever needed help this is one of it.

Register your child at Birdaha School for the best education in the country