Learning in times of COVID; Bengpegn, 13

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Bengpegn, 13, is a grade seven student at Pagak primary and junior high school located in Lare district of Gambella Region, Ethiopia. Bengpegn missed the last school year because his family was experiencing financial woes. But now he’s back to continue from where he left off. This year is promising to be a better one for Bengpegn  as Save the Children and Educate A Child are working together to provide him and other children who are unable to attend school due to economic issues in his village with uniform as well as other school supplies that enabled them return to school. Now Bengpegn has further hopes for his future as he looks forward.   


Bengpegn’s story in his own words :


My name is Bengpegn. I’m 13 and a grade seven student at Pagak Primary and junior high school located in Lare district of Gambella Region. I would’ve been in eighth grade but I had lagged behind since I discontinued my education for a year. 

I live with my family. We have a little farm around here and our main crop is maize. However, despite my family and my efforts; the output is very little. Most of the time we barely have enough for our consumption let alone a source of revenue. We usually ask for financial or food assistance from acquaintances and families to make ends meet.

Last year was a rough time. Apart from my family’s difficulty in getting educational supplies for me; I heard the local health professionals’ broadcast through an ambulance mounted with a loudspeaker. I was very confused about the thing they called” COVID”, but I paid attention and realized that it was a very dangerous airborne disease. I try to take all the necessary precautions so I won’t catch it. I try to wash my hands as much as I can and keep my distance from other people. However, I hear that COVID had widely spread across the world and it had infected many in South Sudan. I’m scared that it will spread to our village one of these days. 

Biology is my favorite subject. I like how it teaches about different organisms and how the human body works. Once I’m done with my high school education I will go to a university and study medicine. That way I can help save people’s lives as well as relieve my family from extreme poverty. But, I was worried about continuing my education since last year. Now Save the Children had provided us with full learning kit and a uniform. It feels good to come to school without any worry about what you’ll wear or how you’ll learn when you don’t have any stationery at hand. 

I’m grateful for the bags, uniforms and education materials I had received. I’m happy that Save the Children and Educate A Child helped me continue my education. 

What Save the Children is doing to help Bengpegn and others like him: 

Save the Children Ethiopia country office and Save the Children Korea in partnership with Educate A Child (EAC), a global programme of the Education Above All Foundation (EAA), launched a project that aims to increase access to quality basic education for out of school children in Gambella Region.The program started on 1 April 2019. Proceeded by Save the Children’s host community activities since January 2020. The project has provided 5,624 out of school children with education services, educational kits and uniforms, and constructed classrooms and sex segregated latrines and wash facilities.