“One day I want to be the UN Secretary-General” - Humanitarian Fund restores hope in Somali children
Title“One day I want to be the UN Secretary-General” - Humanitarian Fund restores hope in Somali children
Mohamed Haji Mathey, 14, wonders why so many children in his country and around the world have to suffer and face so many challenges, as life rips their childhood away. At his Al-Bushra school in the Burhakaba district of south-west Somalia’s Bay region, Mohamed caught everybody’s attention as he stood up in class to share his dream: "One day I want to be the United Nations Secretary-General and make sure no child suffers ever again!"
No one doubts Mohamed’s capacity to overcome challenges while keeping a big smile on his face. Mohamed, his parents and his seven siblings fled drought and hunger, crossing 246 kms from Lower Shabelle to reach the Bay region. Back in his home town, Qoryoley, Mohamed could not attend school. As the elder brother, he had to work at home to help his family and walk several kilometres every day to find water. “My family could not pay the school fees,” he explains.
But today, thanks to a project funded by the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and implemented by the Somali NGO Bay Regional Education Committee (BREC), he is back in school and studying hard to successfully finish seventh grade. Despite missing his house and home town, Mohamed knows that now, with access to education, he has a chance of a better future. “Here we have food and water. I don’t worry about hunger anymore.”
Last year, at least 3 million children—out of a total population of 4.9 million children—were out of school. The primary reason is internal displacement due to drought and conflict. More than 2.2 million people in Somalia have been displaced, and at least 63 per cent of them are children.
This is why in Somalia, the work and integrated response programmes of organizations such as BREC become vital in improving the lives of children like Mohamed.
Funded by the SHF in 2017, BREC combined nutrition, access to water, hygiene promotion and education in one single project.
To date, the organization has provided 3,400 children with food, safe drinking water and learning materials in 13 different schools. This has resulted in a drastic increase in school attendance, and most importantly it has guaranteed a safe space for school-age children across the Bay region.
BREC also responded to the acute watery diarrhoea/cholera outbreak that affected more than 78,000 people last year. It trained 67 teachers and 91 Community Education Committee members on hygiene promotion and water management. All 13 schools received handwashing stations, and hygiene kits were distributed to students, teachers and community members.