Nasra Mohamud Omar, 14, an orphan in the Somaliland town of Burao, is feeling thoroughly dejected that her school days have already come to an end at her young age.
Having lost both her parents and coming from a poor family, she has completed her primary education at Tabantabo School but has no hope of joining a secondary school.
“I live with my grandmother,” Nasra told Radio Ergo. “She can’t afford to pay the monthly fees of the schools at 25 dollars. I don’t know what to do so I stay at home and my hope for education is fading away,” she said.
Eighteen girls at Tabantabo finished their studies this year, but 10 are in a similar situation to Nasra and cannot afford to go to secondary school. Seven girls have been awarded scholarships to the government-run 15May Secondary School.
Tabantabo School for girls was built in 2010 by Somali diaspora and locals to support orphans and children from poor families. Faduma Muse Omar, the head teacher, said they have 175 girls from Burao and the surrounding area.
“The school is free and is funded by well-wishers who decided to support these female orphans. They provide the finance, uniforms, pens, and books,” said Faduma.
“The main challenge we are facing now is when the students complete their form eight exams, they drop out because of lack of school fees. There is no free secondary school in the town.”
Asha Jama’a, a single mother, says her daughter Fahima Omar Jama, now 15, is at home after completing the final year of primary. Her younger daughter Ruqiyo Omar Jama, 11, has two more years to go in primary.
“I am a mother caring for my children alone as their father died. Two of my daughters went to this school. One has completed now but this school has no secondary classes for her. As a mother, I don’t have money to manage high school education for my daughters,” Asha said.
Naima Haybe is one of the lucky girls with a scholarship to15May Secondary School. She hopes to become a teacher and wants to support other girls in their education.
“Though I am happy to get the chance to continue my education, I am sad about the fate of my former classmates,” Naima said.