August 2021 Update
- Madina from Yallo
Madina, 25 years old married her husband from Lee Kuma in Awra 11 years ago and was living in Awra town with her 4 children – her fifth son was born 10 days before the fighting in Kalwaan broke out of July 17th – with the explosions of war, the land shook and the explosions went on. Madina was so shocked and afraid she actually had bleeding on her brain resulting in right- sided leg and arm paralysis and distortion of her speech. When war spread to Awra town the next day, they bundled her and the baby on a donkey cart running to the rural area looking for a place of shelter – they reached UriKuddi in Finto 3 nights later – by then, they had not realized her paralyzed leg was dragging onto the wheel of the cart so she had a massive rubbing wound that is now dried.
APDA found her when her new baby Mohammad was 30 days old in the Urrikuddi school classroom. Unfortunately, with just her 12 – year old to help and her elderly husband, she has very little breast-milk and struggles to position herself to feed him. The team attached her with a health worker to wash her and help her but Madina needs special care, along with Mohammad. Urikuddi is 60 kilometers from Awra town and there are no accessible roads to bring a car to her.
- Too old to move
In Dabal, only 15 kilometers from Awra town, APDA team found Haalima. She and the family fled from Awra town and hide now under a tree. Haalima says she would rather die where she is than move on and she is always thinking she will be returning to her town and home that she has known all her life. With Haalima are another 7 family members caring for their mother and their grandmother.
- A new learning crisis
As schools are about to open, the greatest challenge Afar Region has is how to provide for children from now almost 50% of the Region who are affected/ have been affected by conflict. Thousands are living displaced. Many school buildings throughout Zone 4 (Fanti Rassu) are shattered and ruined. Non-Afar teachers have fled leaving only the Afar teachers.
Children have lived through heinous scenes of carnage and heard the stories of their near – relatives dying in battle. This school year, like no other needs a different strategy to actually teach the children and to provide for them the ability to focus on learning.
APDA wants to suggest to the Bureau of Education that learning under a tree could just be needed and suitable – a mat for the children and if possible, WFP food for one meal in the day to encourage them. Opportunity of language learning linked to pro-child teaching materials could well be possible. Whatever, children should not be left and a year lost.
Anyone wanting to bring ideas forward of innovation to teach in open air space should do so.