My Story ,The make of Heroes in Education

From Refugee in Dadaab to Engineering Graduate in Canada

We are proud of you ,Mohamed Maalim, a bespectacled young Somali academic hero and a former student of Hagadera Secondary School

“Education opens many closed doors,” says Mohamed Maalim, 27, a bespectacled young Somali academic hero, a former student of Hagadera Secondary School who is remembered by many Dadaab residents for his sterling performance in the KCSE examination in 2011.

He is now a Petroleum Systems Engineering graduate from the University of Regina in the Queen City of Regina, Canada.”It was not an easy journey,” he says with a radiant smile, proud that he had beaten all the odds to reach where he is today.

Mohamed was born in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on a fine Sunday evening in 1990, a year before the country fell onto its knees for a civil war that would last more than a quarter century, and when Somalia still lived in concord with its neighbouring states.

Mohamed was not considered fit to pursue secular education until May 29, 2000 when he had completed learning the Quran and the Basic Principles of Islam under the tutelage of his father.

 

However, Mogadishu was then in turmoil. Men were killed, women were raped and children were maimed by fierce warlords who had no respect for humanity.

Colleagues  of Mohamed and his Lectures at University of Regina in the Queen City of Regina, Canada

Homicide and the public property embezzlement were the order of the day. Sometimes there was a heavy shooting around the school and children were released from school. But life had to go on. Children still had to go to school.”My first day in school was very exciting,” he says. “That day I learnt the first four English alphabets: A-B-C-D.”Despite the problems at home and the war in the country, Mohamed showed a strong determination to learn. He initially struggled to study how to read and write Somali language from his mum Hawa, and later self-taught himself Arabic out of books he cheaply grabbed from the local book hawker. There was no one at home to help him with the homework. So, he had to be attentive in class in order to be ahead of the other children.

A few months later, when he sat for his first examination, Mohamed was ranked top in his class – a position he held until he completed high school.

Forced to Flee

Many years have passed. Now Mohamed was in Form Two. But life in Mogadishu was unbearable, and the family decided to flee when all the teenage boys were joining a new Islamic extremist group that was sweeping the country. The Islamic Courts Union, which would later c

hange its name to Al Shabaab, was fighting the warlords who ousted the Siad Barre regime in 1991.

On April 15, 2006, Mohamed parted from his childhood friends and waved goodbye to the only city he had known, and the family fled to Kenya to embrace a future hidden in the horizons.

The journey was terrible. They had to walk on foot for 1,500 km in a busy, lion-infested desert for 15 days until they arrived at Hagadera, one of the refugee camps that make up the Dadaab Complex in North Eastern Kenya.

Life in the camp was equally hard. The family had to depend on little food that was provided by the United Nations World Food Programme. The temperatures in the camp would sometimes hit 40 degrees Celsius and the children were stricken by malaria, typhoid and other diseases, yet there was no medicine available.

But there was free education in Dadaab and therefore Mohamed again had the opportunity to go to school.

“I saw a bright light at the end of the dark tunnel,” he says.

Then another problem arose. The Ministry of Edu

cation in Kenya does not recognise certificates from schools in Somalia, despite them having been signed by UNESCO. So, Mohamed had to start from Standard Seven; four years below his academic level. And another journey started.

A Series of Blessings

Mohamed started to lead his class although his new classmates were very bright, and the competition much stiffer than when he was back in Mogadishu.

Halimo Saman, a fresh high school graduate and a primary school teacher, motivated Mohamed to work hard in school in order to get away from the hard refugee life.

Halima had performed well in high school and was waiting for a scholarship to Canada. Mohamed therefore vowed to emulate her. He buried himself in books and sle

pt late at night.

A year later, when he sat for the KCPE examination, Mohamed was the best student in the entire Dadaab region. He attained 394 marks out of the possible 500.

“The then Education Minister, Prof George Saitoti, announced my name,” he says with a broad smile.

Mohamed got a scholarship to study at Starehe Boys Centre in Nairobi. But there was unrest in the country following the 2007-08 post-election violence, and because of the insecurity, elders from Dadaab dropped his scholarship.

 

 

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WTK collaborates with WUSC

The continued partnership between WTK  & WUSC through student refugee program (SRP) has seen at least 795 students being resettled in Canada since its inception. Further, these young students successfully graduate and become professionals in various careers in Nursing, Engineering, and Social work among others. The programme has nurtured a culture of giving back to the society among the WUSC alumni’s whereby they support their own back in the camps.

WUSC (World University Service of Canada) is a non-governmental organization collaborating with WTK  to develop and deliver high-quality, results-driven development projects in Africa.Its also in  Asia and Latin America.To foster human development and global understanding through education and training

WUSC is among over 80 Sponsorship Agreement Holders in Canada that can privately sponsor refugees.  To our knowledge, We’re the only organization in the world that combines education and resettlement of  the youth.

Are you one of the WTK_WUSC Alumni and where are u ? ,keep us posted !!

Preparing young girls for transition under EERCK run by WTK

 

EECK is a project implemented by WTK  whose mandate is to improve retention and performance of girls in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee Camps, improve community support and involvement in girls’ education in refugee camps,surrounding communities and improve the quality of education in targeted host community schools.

Currently the number of girl’s’ transitioning to secondary schools has increased tremendously through the support of teaching & learning materials, enhanced teacher to student ratio to meet national standards,remedial classes to help girls catch up on their studies and improve in their performance as well as enhance girls` retention techniques & improved performance. This contributes to empowerment of girls` through education and transformation of societies.

Students having a class in WTK supported Secondary schools in Dadaab

Thou wars deprive millions of children of an education, yet education is a human right and a powerful tool for transforming the society. WTK implements secondary education seven secondary schools in Dadaab refugee camp. We achieve this by ensuring that there are qualified and well trained teachers and efficient school administration, equip secondary education with adequate teaching, learning & facilities and textbooks, address Constraints for girls access to secondary education, strengthen co-curriculum activities, enhancement of educational collaboration, Strengthen community participation in secondary education and guidance & counseling.

ICT in Dadaab schools

To adopt the new methods of delivering in our core tasks ,WTK is in the process of integrating technology in Dadaab schools which has a high number of the refugees in the region and as well in the world.Its an idea that will transform students in their areas of learning and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills  technology application and use which is driving the world today.