Hodan Ibrahim's letter to G7 leaders

Somalia Hodan

Dear G7 Leaders, 

My name is Hodan Ibrahim. I am 15-years-old and I have two brothers.  

I’ve always loved to learn. Going to school creates so many endless possibilities. Going to school, joining my friends and discovering more about the world. I used to attend Fadhiyar primary school, and I was in class three. I now no longer attend school though. Without education, I fear I’ll never been able to achieve my dreams. 

We are pastoralists, and our livestock is the only source in our family. In our area, the drought-affected us as well, which forced me and my family to be displaced and resulting in me dropping out of school. Our family decided to take me with them and left my two brothers behind so that they can proceed with their education. 

We then moved to the far rural areas in search of pasture for our livestock. Here there is no school, and life is hard. The impact of the drought has caused us many problems, including the loss of most of our animals and pressure on our livelihood. 

Here in this rural place, life is different because I have many responsibilities. I support my mother with the house and domestic chores, and I am responsible for fetching water from a far area. Everyday, it takes me at least one hour to get there and an hour to come back. 

Somalia has one of the world's lowest enrolment rates for children of primary school age and more than 3 million out-of-school children, meaning Somalia has one of the biggest global populations of out-of-school children. Girls particularly have always faced challenges to education with 72% of women in rural areas of Somalia having never attended school. 

While efforts have been made to keep children like me and specifically girls in education, this drought and the daily chores I have to focus onto support my family is making the situation worse. Parents are taking their girls out of school as school fee costs are unattainable due to loss of income. Many families are now opting to only send boys to school but not girls like me. 

I hope one day I will return home, go back to school so I can resume my studies and be with my friends once again. I miss playing with them. I love my education and want to continue my studies up to the university level. I want to be a teacher and educate other children in the future. 

Climate change is making life difficult for so many people but it is devastating that it is disrupting education. My one ask of G7 leaders is that they help children, and especially girls like me, complete their schooling. 

Yours faithfully 

Hodan Ibrahim, Sanaag, Somalia