“Perplexing and Bursting News: Young Ones at Adado IDP Camp Forced to Work to Support Impoverished Families!”

It was Thursday May 11, 2023 and Jamilo Ishkoow Omar was doing her best to take care of her seven children in Badbahdo IDP camp. However, the family’s situation had become so dire that she had to pull her 13-year-old son out of school in January and send him out to work instead. Life had become impossible for them since they had lost their herd of 150 goats in 2017, and Jamilo’s husband had also passed away that same year. This forced her and the children to join the camp in Adado, a central Somali town.

Teachers at the camp have reported that a growing number of children are leaving school to work for their displaced families who are struggling financially. Jamilo explained that she had to remove her son from school because she had younger children to take care of and no one else in the family was employed. They were all poor and displaced, and the problem was weighing heavily on her. She used to wash clothes and collect garbage for a living until she was bitten by a snake on her hand while she was sleeping in her hut on December 21. She had no money for medical treatment and as a result, her hand is now paralyzed, and she cannot work anymore.

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Jamilo had to rely on her son’s earnings to cook one family meal in the evening, which usually cost them $2-$3 a day. The money was barely enough to buy rice and vegetables, which often left them hungry. Ironically, Jamilo had enrolled her son in school at the camp in 2020, and he would have now been in the eighth grade if their circumstances had not forced him to start working for the family.

Hamdi Hussein Issa, another mother in the camp, also had to send her eldest child out to earn a living because she could not afford to support the family alone. She hawks samosas in the streets, but her business has been dwindling since people generally have less money to spend. She had to take her 11-year-old son out of school and send him to look for shoe shining jobs. Her two younger daughters are at home as she cannot afford their school stationery.

The principal of Mandeq school in the camp, Mohamed Haji Bir, said that the number of children leaving school to work has been increasing in the last two years. This year alone, 123 students have dropped out, and there are only 158 students currently enrolled in the free tuition school. The principal said that teachers try to persuade parents about the importance of education, but many are not convinced. He is pessimistic that those who have left will ever return to the classroom.

The situation in the camp is dire, and many families have been left destitute after being displaced from their homes. Even though parents are aware of the importance of education, they are forced to prioritize their immediate needs, such as food and shelter, over their children’s future. The hope is that with increased support, families like Jamilo’s and Hamdi’s can take their children out of work and back to school.

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