School libraries: broadening horizons for children in Somaliland
Book Aid International has been proud to partner with Africa Educational Trust (AET) for many years, supporting their work in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. AET works to provide education to children and young people affected by conflict and poverty. As an organisation dedicated to education for all, AET targets excluded groups including pastoralists and people in remote and rural communities, families displaced by conflict or drought and girls and women.
Many schools in Somalia were destroyed in the civil war and educational resources are in extremely short supply. As Somalia seeks to rebuild its education system Book Aid International has a vital role to play in providing new, carefully selected books that can help people rebuild their lives and communities.
Since 2002 we have supplied books to stock libraries set up by AET in primary schools across Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia. Since then, AET has expanded this work into secondary schools, vocational institutions, community libraries and universities in Somaliland. We were delighted to hear from AET recently about the difference these libraries and the books we send continue to make:
Zaynab was 12 years old and in the third year of primary school in Hargeisa, Somaliland, when AET established a library in her school. Before joining the school, Zaynab and her family lived in a rural area south of Hargeisa rearing sheep and goats on the arid plains. Moving to Hargesia gave Zaynab and her siblings the opportunity to go to school – something which they were very happy about.
Zaynab flourished in school. She was a bright pupil who regularly participated in class and made frequent visits to the school library. Her Headmaster and other teachers in the school were impressed by the progress she made in her studies. Encouraged by her teachers, she spoke English in class, in the library, with students, with teachers and even her family at home.
Zaynab’s progress was certainly influenced by her love of reading. She persuaded the school librarian to allow her to borrow books from the library and read as many books as she could in her spare time. Zaynab read everything available – story books, science, English, environment, social studies – all the materials she could find.
When asked how she feels about reading she said:
“I enjoy reading. I feel that I am in another wonderful world when reading cultural books (different people, dresses, foods, wildlife and children stories). It’s a blessing that AET has provided me a wonderful opportunity which enabled me to improve my education, experiences and awareness on the enjoyable world around us.”
Zaynab is now the Chief Editor of an English newspaper published and produced quarterly by her school.
Find out more about our partnership with AET and our work in Somalia below.
Photos supplied by Africa Educational Trust.