Awo is a 17 year old student, and is making the most of her education at an AET supported primary school in a rural area outside of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. She is currently enrolled in grade 8 and is anticipating sitting her primary leaving exams. As the oldest in her family, Awo is the only child her parents allowed to go to school, whilst her two younger sisters stay at home and look after their sheep and goats on the dry plains near her village.
In order to enable more young people like Awo to get an education, AET has set up mobile libraries that are moved around communities to act as a safe way of delivering books to people who would be otherwise unable to access these resources. The books are brought to communities by lorries, motorcycles and even donkeys. This helps to solve issues with people being unable to enjoy literacy and access books due to the fact that they live in rural areas and the big cities that have literacy resources are too expensive for people like Awo and her family to travel to. The mobile libraries move within a region of communities, with each village having a scheduled day where they can use the library.
Awo has greatly benefitted from the use of Donkey Drawn Libraries delivering her books. She told us that she has committed herself to reading as many books as she can from the library. She says she has read all kinds of books ranging from stories about the environment, to basic science, and books on social issues. AET aims to replenish the mobile libraries on an on-going basis with both Somali and English reading materials, so that the communities are given a wide variety of choice at the books they can read.
Due to Awo’s new access to books, she has become one of the leading students with high marks and a good standing in the school community. Her teacher told us that she is a very bright student, active in class and eager to participate in activities outside the classroom. In grade six, she even succeeded at being nominated chairperson of the Student Union, which organizes school debates on water sanitation, the environment, HIV/Aids and human rights issues.
AET has also opened a part –time, alternative education literacy class in her village, which meant Awo was able to persuade her parents to allow her two younger sisters to attend.
Awo has promised us to launch a campaign to build a separate hut for a school library which can be used by students, teachers and the whole community. She hopes to attend university one day, and that more girls will follow in her path, join the school, and get an education.