Like a mother, like a schoolmate
Fikre, 27 is a mother of five. This year is a very special one for Fikre. She has resumed her school that she has quitted long time ago. “It was because of my early marriage” Fikre explains her reason for stopping her education. She is now an 8th grader in a primary school found in a district of Sidama Region, Southern Ethiopia. It was both a challenge and an excitement for Fikre to start school after years of staying at home.
“I am very happy to have chance to attend school with my children, I have mixed feelings- an excitement and regrets. I am happy because I am now a mother and a school mate to my children. We go to school together, we play together, we eat together, we study together, we support one another; but my regrets are about those wasted years without education. I could have been someone with a college degree by now. But it is not too late anyway” she smiles.
Fikre has five children, three daughters and twin sons. They all attend the same school with her. The older girl is now in grade six.
“since the start of the school feeding program, I started to see remarkable changes in my children’s school performance; for instance, the older one has ranked 2nd from her class in the last academic year; the boys are also doing fine. Now they pay more attention to their study, they are keen to do their homework and come with good results”.
Fikre did not want to hide her reason for starting school this year;
“well, one of my reason is the school meal, but then again I get education which I feel is very important to change my future. I want to be a role model for my kids”
She also added that she will be able to protect the children from any harm that they may face from home to school and vice versa by being closer to them.
The school principal Solomon said
“There are many young mothers who are attending our school; this is primarily because of the early marriage practice in the community which denies several girls from advancing in school, of course the school meal is an attraction for many.A year ago, we used to make campaigns for the usual come back to school promotion which we normally do after the long summer vacation every year. Many of them did not respond to the call. But, this year it was different. We are now being challenged with the influx of new students –thanks to the project and its donor GPE who are behind this tremendous change”
Since December 2020, Comprehensive, Home Grown, Inclusive, Learning and Development-School Feeding Project (CHILD-SFP) in partnership with Ethiopian Ministry of Education, Regional Education Bureaus, District Education Offices and Ethiopian School Meal Initiative, has been operating in 13 districts of five regions in the country. The project reaches more than 163,000 beneficiaries in 499 rural schools with its school feeding and other education related interventions. Global Partnership for Education(GPE) generously supports the project through financial and technical assistance.
Written by Abdusemed Mussa