“Educated Women are the Key to Development and Peace”

Graduates with diploma at the graduation ceremony. Photo: LWF/Kenya-Djibouti
Graduates with diploma at the graduation ceremony. Photo: LWF/Kenya-Djibouti

Teachers Graduate in Ali Addeh refugee camp, Djibouti

(LWI) – “My dream of being role model for my three daughters has finally come to pass," says Alemsahay with a smile. She is one of 40 refugees in Djibouti who have just graduated with a diploma in Primary Education from Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology. All of them are refugee teachers in Ali Addeh and Hol Hol camps, Djibouti, where The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) assists with Education and Child Protection.

Alemsahay came to Ali Addeh refugee camp in 1992 at the age of 17 years. She had just completed grade 12 in school. “I joined LWF as pre-school teacher in 2011; I believe that this opened the door for me and gave me this great opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge in the teaching profession,” she says. “Being a teacher was the turning point in my life, an opportunity that has brought me to where I am today”.

A Role Model

Holding a university degree makes Alemsahay feel confident and stronger. “At the beginning of the course, I wasn’t very sure I will make it. The curriculum taught in English appeared complex and loaded but I believe my persistent efforts with support from God have made me thrive,” she says. “What fuelled my resolve further was the faith my three daughters had in me. They expected me to succeed in life so that I could be their role model, provide for them and secure their future.”

“My first born in grade 8 at Wadajir Primary school in Ali Addeh refugee camp has already set his mind focused on becoming a graduate in the next 5 years to beat me," she says.

“It was absolutely fantastic to be there and see how the whole refugee community supported the graduates, and how children saw their teachers be recognized as ‘real teachers’,” Lennart Hernander, LWF Country representative for Kenya-Djibouti, says. “We are certain that there were many among the refugees who thought: I also want to go to University and graduate. They can do it, I can do it!”

UNICEF and Church of Sweden/Sida have been the main funding partners for the project. “We also want to mention our Education Technical Advisor Hellen Choge and former Senior Education Officer now Project Coordinator in Kakuma, Collins Onyango who are the two who planted the seeds for this program when they both worked in LWF Kakuma in 2009” Hernander adds.

“Everyone has the potential to learn”

After the successful completion of her course, Alemsahay began saving money to construct a classroom in her compound of the refugee camp. She wants to help the mothers in her section to learn, because she is convinced that “educated women are the key to development in the community and to peace for a world full of conflict.”

She believes that education helps women grasp opportunities which will benefit them and their families, preparing them for the labor market and help them understand their civil and reproductive rights.

“Everyone is intelligent and has the potential to learn,” she concludes. “Thank you LWF for believing in me, walking with me and helping make my dream come true”.

The LWF is assisting refugees from Somalia and South Sudan in Kenya and Djibouti with Education, Child Protection, assistance to people with special needs and community services.

(Contribution by Robai Naliaka,Sub Programme Manager LWF Kenya-Djibouti)

International Women's Rights Day