“Buulo Ba’alay” as it is commonly referred to, is the oldest settlement for the internally displaced people in Galkayo and was established in 1994. These people are not only displaced, but are also from minority clans (in relation to the traditional clan segmentation system of the Somali community). As a result, this group is predisposed to many kinds of prejudice and discrimination. Typical of any IDP’s settlement, Buulo Ba’alay is characterized by chronic poverty, lack of housing, water, educational and health facilities. Residents lacked vocational skills that can help them to get a sustainable income. Majority of the residents -mainly women- are casually employed as garbage collectors, water vendors, street cleaners and house helps. All these do not provide enough income to cater for the needs of their ever growing families of averagely 7 to 9 children. The rate of rape in this settlement is very high tying to the fact that the area is heavily infested with drugs. Prior to GECPD’s intervention, children in this camp had no access at all to education since the camp had no schools or any other form of educational facilities.
Health facilities are a real challenge as well for this community. Many able bodied men have resorted to idle khat chewing and taking of other kinds of drugs. Women have been left to be the sole breadwinners of the families while men use the little they earn on drugs. When they lack, they expect their wives to buy them from the little income they get. Children are forced to supplement family incomes by collecting and selling khat remnants and working as shoe shiners. Many of them have turned into street children and engage in anti-social behavior like chewing of the khat remnants and sniffing of glue.
GECPD in Buulo Baaley
GECPD has been working within this settlement since 2001 in collaboration with the local women’s groups; providing education for girls, women and a selected group of vulnerable boys. At the onset, GECPD was implementing the non-formal second chance education programs for 120 girls in the morning and the adult education program for adult women in the afternoon.
The classes were being run in rented premises and rent charges were increasingly becoming expensive for the women groups to sustain. With the support of UNHCR and Diakonia, GECPD established the center between 2002 and 2003 to cater for the education of minority and internally displaced women and children in and around Buulo Ba’aley IDP settlement. The center comprises of 4 classrooms, 1 office room, a store, a dining hall and kitchen, a water tank and 6 washrooms/toilets.
Prior to the school, there were no education opportunities for the Minority IDP children and women in the settlement. The Minority Women Center/School is currently providing Formal Primary Education to IDP girls and a selected group of boys from grades 1 to 5 and Non-Formal Second Chance Education to women and girls.