- War-torn Somalia is on its path to reconstruction
- Women there have long suffered lack of education due to culture and poverty
- But a few females are paving the way for others in the future
Educated females are still quite scarce in Somalia, a country where both poverty and cultural standards go against their chances of continuing their studies, especially college.
Yet there is a small group of brave girls who decided to go against deeply ingrained customs within their families and society, and persevere.
Such is the case of Iqra Ali Omar, who attends Hiiraan University. She is currently doing her second year in Business Administration.
Child marriage is very common in Somalia. Many girls wed early, even as young as 14. Another problem many of them face is the dire economic situation many in this war-torn country face. Two decades of conflict are barely over, and reconstruction is still a harsh problem to deal with.
Iqra lives in the town of Belet Wenyne. “After completing high school, it was difficult to get my school-leaving certificate... Fortunately, I was enrolled at the University,” she said.
Yet another challenge was placed in front of her: economic issues. It was hard for her to pay her way through high school, and those problems did not go away once she was enrolled at the university. “I could not pay college fees and the cost of the assignment hand-outs. Towards the end of my first semester in university, I got a new job and was able to resume my studies. Now my situation is much better,” she adds.
Iqra now reflects on her current situation. “I now work for the Belet Weyne local government as a cashier. I am very happy with my life […] even though I have a long way to go. I would like to advise young girls like me […] I encourage them to be focused and resilient and they will survive the hardship,” she suggested.
In a great move for this fragile country, institutions of higher learning are slowly reopening their doors. Women are also encouraged to take more active roles in society. Yet there is still a long way to go, with almost 70 per cent of females having practically no formal education.
Meanwhile, watch this video below with ex Bishop David Abioye's driver quits Living Faith Church, converts to Islam: