Yusuf Zakaria, 17, is in class 7 at Shaheed Zubaer Basic School for Boys, Nyala North Locality, South Darfur, Sudan.
One of nearly 250 internally displaced persons (IDPs) increasing the enrollment of this school to 425 students, Yusuf arrived in the area with his family on foot, accompanied by a couple of donkeys, less than a year ago after being displaced for a second time by conflict.
Originally from Nertiti (where he was in school from class 1-5) Yusuf and his parents fled their home in haste one Friday afternoon when “…armed men came and burned our houses and took our cattle and kicked us out.”
They fled to a location half a day away. For the four years the family was there, Yusuf did not attend school.
“We didn’t have the money for the fees,” he says, “plus there were lots of wild animals there—the kind that eat people—and the school was far away.” However, Yusuf did attend Quranic school, “…so I could keep in the habit of learning.”
Earlier this year, when conflict came to their new home, Yusuf and his parents fled again. This time they walked three days to the outskirts of Nyala where they have now settled.
“I wanted to go to school for so long,” Yusuf says. “It feels good to be back.”
As of January 2015, IDMC estimates that there were up to 3.1 million IDPs in Sudan. The number of IDPs at Shaheed Zubaer is very large. The school doesn't take any money from them-- it is free for IDPs to send their children here. The burden falls in large part on the other parents in the host community. "This is one of the factors that made us decide to build this school," says Sayed Abdeen of the GPE's Basic Education Recovery Program.
GPE has provided the school with 4 new classrooms, two offices, a water tank and six latrines. The school also received textbooks and recently became recipient of a school grant.