Across the world families are facing the heartbreaking decision not to send their daughters back to school. They simply have no choice.
The catastrophic global food crisis means that more and more children every day are dropping out of school – most of them are girls.
The Horn of Africa in particular is experiencing a perfect storm of food shortages and extreme weather, with Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya facing catastrophe. Over 50 million people are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity this year across the Horn of Africa.
In Somalia, 420,000 children are currently at risk of dropping out of school. Food prices are soaring due to the impact of war in Ukraine combined with relentless drought. Families face the choice of which child they can afford to send to school – most often it’s the girls who stay at home to support with getting food and water.
And when food and water dries up, so do girls’ hopes for the future. Being out of school can have devastating consequences, putting them at much higher risk of abuse, early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
14-year-old Aisha from Somalia is one of the many who had to drop out as her family relocated in search of food. She says:
I was so happy going to school. I felt like I had a chance in life. This drought has taken me back from where I was before. I now spend most of my time helping my parents do menial jobs so that we get money for food. I also walk long distances to get water for the family. I wish one day I can join my friends back at school but for now, my focus is on making sure my family survives.”
CARE and our partners our working in Somalia and around the world to support girls to go to and remain in school. This includes:
- Providing girls with essential items such as school uniform, stationery and sanitary kits
- Providing assistance with school fees
- Working closely with communities and parents to follow up on children who have dropped out or are at risk.
- Constructing and rehabilitating schools
- Providing monthly incentives and learning resources to teachers
Hamdi is one of the recipients of CARE’s scholarship in a primary school in Somalia. The scholarship goes to girls and supports the family with school uniform and materials. She says:
I like to go to school. I want to learn a lot so I can support myself and my family. I want to go to university and become the minister of education in order to give other girls the opportunity to learn."
You can help CARE change the story for girls like Hamdi and Aisha.
- £15 could cover school fees for a month
- £20 could buy a school uniform
- £25 could buy a back-to-school bag containing exercise books and pencils