Fadumo, a 15-year-old girl, is the second born in a family of six children. Fadumo is excited to attend the ‘flexi classes’ offered in her school. She splits her time between the morning, when she does household chores and helps her family run their small kiosk, and the afternoon, when she goes to school.
Fadumo, like most girls in rural Somalia, has never attended school before. In Somalia, education is reserved for financially stable families, who can afford fees of $10 to $15 per month. With an average income of $2 per day and competing needs, education is placed low on the priority list. Most parents will opt for their children to support the household income by working rather than investing in their education. Girls are further affected by harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriages.
The situation was no different for Fadumo until her parents heard about a free primary education opportunity through a person who roamed their village using a loudspeaker. In partnership with Education Above All Foundation (EAA), through its global programme, Educate A Child (EAC), CARE International’s project personnel shared information in the village about the schools. After inquiring about this opportunity, Fadumo’s parents enrolled her in Accelerated Basic Education (ABE), and two of her siblings in Grades 1 and 2.
The ABE programme provides flexible learning opportunities for children aged 12 to 15, who have never attended school before. The condensed curriculum combines Grades 1 and 2 into one year of learning (Level One), and Grades 3 and 4 into another year (Level Two).
This offers children like Fadumo the opportunity to catch up with their peers and potentially enter formal school at an age-appropriate grade.
“Before, I used to wake up early and prepare breakfast, clean the dishes, sweep the house, do laundry, then go to the kiosk and help my mother. In the evenings, I would come back and prepare supper, wash the dishes. That was my everyday routine. Now I am excited to get afternoons off to go and learn,” Fadumo said.
Fadumo’s love for school is evident to her ABE class teacher, Hassan: “She’s always punctual, eager to learn and is very attentive in class,” he says.
Fadumo plans to continue the ABE course and to further her education. She hopes to support other girls to do the same and wants to become an agent of change, ensuring that all Somali girls are given the chance to educate themselves and to rewrite their futures.