Students spend time in the grounds of the new school
Somaliland – August 17 2018

Classrooms reopen in Somaliland for first time since civil war

SOS Children’s Villages have completed a classroom building project in Somaliland which will enable hundreds of children to receive an education in safety.

Half of the classrooms at the 31st of May School in Hargeisa were destroyed by bombs during the Somaliland civil war for independence and have not been in use for twenty years. The school can now accommodate almost 1,000 students – 270 more than previously.

The renovation project, completed in partnership with the Big Foundation, has brought six classrooms back into use and improved facilities throughout the school – including the installation of toilets, running water and wheelchair access so that disabled children in the region are not denied their right to equal educational opportunities.

The improved hygiene facilities will benefit children’s health and enable girls to attend school during menstruation. The lack of toilet facilities for girls is a major problem in Somaliland and often results in girls missing school during their periods or dropping out of education when they reach puberty. Prior to the renovations students were forced to return home or request to use the facilities at one of the nearby homes.

SOS Children’s Villages UK Communications Director Pascale Palmer said: “The war had left most of the classrooms at the 31st of May school unsafe for the children to use – with crumbling walls and holes in the roof.

“Now thanks to the renovations children in Hargeisa can look forward to a more prosperous and rewarding future, with all the benefits that a good education can provide.”

SOS Children’s Villages has been working in Somaliland since the late 1990s, supporting at-risk families and providing unsupported children with a secure home in a family environment. The country is currently experiencing a three-year drought which has left more than 20 million people in East Africa suffering food insecurity. The charity is running an emergency relief programme in Hargeisa providing:

  • Food vouchers
  • Nutritional screening to detect, prevent and treat childhood malnutrition
  • Hygiene and nutritional education
  • Community resilience and preparedness training for future environmental disasters

You can find out more about our emergency relief work and how you can donate here.

Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at or on 01223 222 974.