On our way back to Hargeisa from a road trip to the town of Salahley, we came across a settlement of homes accompanied by a small drinking well. We were hailed by an old woman who walked from a small house to greet us. She asked us what business we had in the area, if we were in the business of building schools, and if so, if we would return. As she did so, she gestured to four young girls sitting a few yards behind her, eating lunch under the shade of an acacia tree.
As we spoke, they watched us between bites of porridge. The woman told us that these girls were in her care, that their parents had passed away, and that in the surrounding area there were some 50 families with children without access to a local school.
Despite their situation, or too young to understand it, the girls warmed up to us quickly. They offered us a few kind words and many shy smiles. As we were about to depart, one of them asked us if we were going to build them a school, as their grandmother had asked. Our only response was inshallah – God willing.
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According to UNESCO estimates, 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age—half of them in sub-Saharan Africa—will never enter a classroom.
Fewer than one-third of all primary school-aged Somaliland children go to school. Of those who do attend, fewer than 60% reach fifth grade.
Literacy: 27% (1999)
Male Youth Literacy: 74% (2012)
Female Youth Literacy: 55% (2012)