By Sarah Easter, Emergency Communications Officer, CARE Germany and CARE Austria
Currently, 1.4 million children in Somalia are affected by the drought. Hamdi, a fifth-grade student, is one of them.
“Before we moved to the town, we lived in a camp for displaced people. Our life there was very hard. There was no water. I could not go to school and had to help my mother in the household,” Hamdi says.
Girls like Hamdi bear a heavy burden during times of drought. In Somalia, one in two girls under the age of 18 is married when their household’s income is not enough for the entire family to survive on. Girls are also the first to be absent from school to provide support to their household.
Hamdi and her mother, Mariam Adam. Sarah Easter/CARE
When Hamdi was ten years old, the family left the camp and came to a city.
“We had to move because we could not find anything to eat. I also wanted to send my children to school,” says Hamdi’s mother, Mariam Adam.
Mariam wants her daughter to finish school successfully and become financially independent in the future.
“I want her to succeed and have a better future,” Mariam says.
She is responsible for the family’s income and takes care of her children mostly on her own because her husband is visually impaired.
“Everything is expensive. Food is expensive. School fees are expensive. I cannot afford it and it is a big burden. My neighbours often ask me what happened, why I suddenly look so old. All these challenges in my life are aging me,” Mariam says.
CARE works with families around the world so girls like Hamdi can attend school. Hamdi receives schoolbooks and exercise books, writing materials, and other supplies that she needs to learn and thrive.
A group of women and girls at a primary school in Somalia. Sarah Easter/CARE
Seventy-two per cent of women living in rural areas in Somalia have never gone to school.
“The children in our school come from families that have been displaced due to the current drought,” explains Halima, principal of Ayaanle Primary School.
At the entrance to the classroom, the words Learn today how to teach tomorrow, are written in green letters.
Hamdi has embraced these words.
“I want to go to university one day and later become a minister of education so that other girls can learn.”