After achieving an A- on the KCSE exam, Mohamud Hire Dahir, a refugee at Hagadera camp, was named the top student in Northeastern.
Dahir, who was helped by the UNHCR and the Fafi CDF kitty, said that studying for extra hours and consulting his lecturers were really beneficial to him.
His school, Alinjugur Secondary School in Fafi subcounty, may not be well known, but it has produced two of the brightest pupils in the region, with an A- of 79 and 76 points respectively.
The 22-year-old, who spoke in Garissa town on Monday, escaped Somalia’s civil war after losing his father in 2019.
“It’s been a long and winding road for me, filled with a slew of obstacles.” It doesn’t matter how you start the race, but how you finish. I was determined to suffer to achieve what I wanted,” Dahir said.
He aspires to be a doctor and study medicine.
“I want to help my folks back home who are having difficulty getting good healthcare because of the civil conflict,” Dahir added.
He lost his sister to malaria, a condition that he claims is treatable yet still kills people in Somalia.
According to Dahir, the deaths are attributable to a lack of manpower.
Because his mother and the rest of his siblings are still in Somalia, the last born in a family of six aspires to be the breadwinner.
“My family was adamant that I not go to Kenya. “However, I was set on two goals: to get out of the war and to earn an education,” he explained.
Dahir has lived in the Hagadera camp for a long time.
In his first KCSE exam attempt, he scored a B plain of 66 points.
Dahir missed the chance of a scholarship from the World University Service of Canada by a point, forcing him to repeat Form 4.
“With a good grade now in place, I can only hope and pray that the scholarship comes my way,” he said.
Dahir said the school faced staffing challenges in 2019 when some teachers were killed in Nanigi, which led to mass exodus.
“For a long time, we had to study on our own. Then Covid-19 came and it was extremely tough,” he said.
The school’s senior principal Noor Gani said the results were not surprising to the school’s administration.
He said they knew the class will perform well and produce some of the best students.
“Despite many challenges among them staffing and having to run the school with unqualified teachers after 15 of them left in 2019 due to insecurity, we still soldiered on,” Gani said.
He said out of the 79 candidates who sat the exam, 56 managed to get direct admission to the university, “this is no mean feat.”
The principal thanked the Ministry of Education, the UNHCR, Window Trust and the CDF office, which ensured no student was sent home for fees.
He said they improved their mean score from last years 5.5 to 7.2 and they aim to improve further.