The right to education – also among the Afar

It is difficult for us to imagine what it means to live nomadically. So many things in “normal” life are simply not possible for nomads. And yet nomadic life is actually the normal, natural way of life for our human species.

We have already seen the everyday hurdles that the Afar and their organization APDA have to overcome when it comes to agriculture: For nomads who do not stay in one place for long, it is difficult to grow and harvest vegetables.

But now there is another point: The literacy and education of the nomads!

To avoid being ripped off in this world, it is important that the Afar can read, write and do arithmetic. But how is school supposed to work if people don’t stay in the same place? So school cannot be stationary – as it is here – but has to move with the people. And this is exactly what APDA does: teachers from the various clans are trained, who in turn teach assistant teachers and multipliers in their own clan.

In practice, it looks like this: Teacher candidates come from the bush to the training center with their whole family and spend the weeks of teacher training here together. However, the term “training center” should not be understood in too European a sense. These are just a few buildings for cooking and sleeping. The teacher training takes place in the shade of a tree or a house wall, just like the later lessons for the pupils.

Their own culture is also to be conveyed to the pupils through self-produced books with Afar stories and tales. APDA’s resources for literacy among the Afar are extremely modest, yet APDA has been able to make a significant contribution to reducing the illiteracy rate in the region.
What seems completely normal to our children – going to school every day – is another achievement on the way to the emancipation of the Afar. Long live the right to education for all children in the world!

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