More than 90,000 people, including at least 20,000 children who were in school, have been displaced by fighting between factions in the Galkayo region of Central Somalia, which began a month ago.
UNICEF Somalia is gravely concerned about thousands of Somali children who are missing school due to the weeks of fighting. All schools in the town of Galkayo have been closed, affecting more than 20,000 children and young people. Teachers have been injured, four schools in Galkayo were damaged, and five schools outside the town are closed as they are now used to house some of the displaced. Any schools still functioning are severely overcrowded.
UNICEF and partners are setting up safe temporary learning spaces for the displaced children to allow them to continue their education and are working to ensure that the teachers receive their incentive allowances.
“This is a very serious situation for the children of Galkayo and is bound to have a major impact on their education and their lives,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative.
“We must ensure that there are places for children to learn in a safe environment either in temporary spaces or in schools outside town. The children must be given catch up classes and their schools must be protected from further damage.”
Many of the displaced children who have fled Galkayo are particularly vulnerable, as a large number were already displaced from their original homes and were living in settlements. UNICEF and its partners are also concerned with the continuing physical and emotional stress the forced displacement and fighting may put children and their families under.
A child’s right to an education is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Somalia in October 2015.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).