Islamic Relief has encouraged displaced families in Nertiti, Darfur’s Central State, to send their children to school.
Over 870 girls and 283 boys benefitted from the scheme to help Sudan’s children of conflict to unlock brighter futures.
“It is helping us a lot, and soon my brothers will also join the school,” said student Najad Mohammed.
Over half of the population of conflict-torn Darfur is illiterate, with only 54 per cent of children enrolled in school. Many families in the area do not have access to land for farming and livestock from which they could meet their basic needs. A large number of children are compelled to leave school. By working instead of learning, they help their families to buy food.
The Islamic Relief project removed one of the key barriers preventing displaced children from receiving an education. We provided more than 1,100 poor students with staple foods including cereal, pulses, oil and salt, on the condition that they attend school.
In the three targeted schools, food committees brought teachers, parents and students together to receive training on food handling, storage and distribution. The committees were responsible for managing the food supplies that Islamic Relief provides each quarter.
Najad Adam Mohammed, 13, lives in a camp for displaced people with her parents, grandmother, and five siblings. Sector seven camp has been home for four years.
“We rely on the wages my father receives from his job as a daily labourer,” she said, “Sometimes we go with our mother to work in other houses – washing clothes, cleaning, and taking care of their kids to earn some money and help our family.
“Our family does not have enough money, so only we two girls go to school. My brothers help my parents in their daily work – my father cannot afford to pay their school fees. In our camp, many people are in the same situation.
“Before the Food for Education project, I used to go home and eat fatoor, breakfast, at home – usually spending almost one hour out of school. Now we have breakfast in our school. It is helping us a lot, and soon my brothers will also join the school. Islamic Relief is also supporting the construction of four classrooms in our school, and we very happy about this.”
Eight hundred and seventy-six girls and 283 boys benefitted from the scheme, which complements a project which saw 3,000 schoolbags distributed earlier in the year. It is one of a range of Islamic Relief education schemes across Sudan.
Yassir Abdellah Eshag is a sixth grade pupil at Umul Qura School of Nertiti in Central Darfur. He lives with his six brothers and sisters in the Garsilla area. Only two of them attend school; two more will register for school next year, while his two older siblings help their parents with farming to support the family.
Yassir explained, “In the past I used to go home for breakfast which used to take around 30 minutes, and if I couldn’t have any breakfast at home, I would often not go back to school. Sometimes I used to go home for breakfast, but my mother would be out farming.
“But now that I receive food at school, I will attend it more regularly.”
Yassir explained that not only does eating at school save him time and keep him in education, it also helps him to concentrate better in class.