When I stopped teaching adult ESL, one of the Somali men in my class asked if I had any lesson books I would be willing to donate to a school his friend was running in Mogadishu, Somalia. I did. I gave him a trunk-full, probably more than a hundred books. He was so excited! He was going to send them over a few at a time, with people who were traveling to that part of the world.
The next time I saw him, I asked him how it was going. Turns out, his friend had had to close the school because of ongoing violence. They weren't sure when he would be able to open it again.
I haven't talked to Ahmed recently, but those books are probably still sitting in his apartment.
Here are the facts, according to a report on the world's schools recently released by The Global Campaign for Education. No surprise: Somalia ranked dead last. In the world.
80% of Somalia's children do not receive primary school education. 93% do not receive secondary school eduction. And things are getting worse because of ongoing conflict. The most recent estimate is that only 10% of children are enrolled in primary school.
When you think about it, those are staggering numbers. Four-fifths (or more) of Somalia's children do not learn basic reading, writing and math skills. How do you lift yourself out of poverty under those circumstances?
See: Global Campaign for Education Report