BEATING THE ODDS

Refugee boy scores 371 marks to top Dadaab camp

In Summary

• The boy attributes his sterling performance to hard work, dedication and cooperation from teachers and mother.

• Haji wishes to join Alliance High School to achieve his dream of becoming an educationist so that he can give back to society and help his family in the future.

Abdirizack Muse Haji, centre, celebrates his 371 score in his KCPE exam with his former schoolmates
Abdirizack Muse Haji, centre, celebrates his 371 score in his KCPE exam with his former schoolmates

In the outskirts of Hagadera market sits Block J5. This is one of the many blocks (villages) that make up the Hagadera Refugee Camp, which is part of the larger Dadaab refugee complex, the world’s largest by population. This is where Abdirizack Muse Haji, the top pupil in KCPE in the camp, hails from.

Haji, 14, surprised many when he garnered 371 marks. It was all joy in his former school, Upendo Primary, which is UNHCR-funded and run by Lutheran World Federation. Upendo Primary is one of the 15 refugee primary schools in the camp. His headteacher, a Mr Hussein, is was all smiles after the release of the results.

“Abdirizack has made us proud. ­He was a very hardworking child. He respected his teachers and fellow schoolmates. He topped his class right from class three. He’s set the pace for other pupils,” he said.

The boy attributes his sterling performance to hard work, dedication and cooperation from teachers and mother.

“I used to read extensively and hold discussions on various subjects with my classmates. My teachers were very cooperative. They used to not only teach but guide and mentor us in school,” he says.

There were about 2,400 pupils who registered and sat for KCPE examinations this year in the camp, with about 60 per cent being boys and and 40 per cent girls.

 His family arrived in Dadaab in 2014 when a devastating famine struck Somalia.

The second born in a family of 11 says that life in the camp has never been easy. His father is deceased.

“My father died in Somalia when we were still very young. Since then, our mother has struggled to take care of us, “ he says.

He gives credit to his mother who moves from one block to another performing house chores to feed them.

Haji wishes to join Alliance High School to achieve his dream of becoming an educationist so that he can give back to society and help his family in the future.