Ali Kadir ‘Allo is now 23 years old and almost completed a 3 – year degree course in Samara University. Ali was born in Hubbiyokalo, a sub-area of Geega, a kebele of Dubte. Ali’s family had 11 children; he is the third eldest. Geega is a long grazing valley that is around 120 kilometers from Logya, the largest town in the Region. APDA started working in Geega in 1998, helping the community to construct roads and established community development teams in the valley: a woman extension worker, a teacher and a health worker in each of 12 scattered rural sites, one of them Hubbiyokalo.
As a young boy, he shared going out daily with the family goat herd with his younger brother. Then, APDA’s teacher in Hubbiyokalo was ‘Allo, Ali’s uncle. ‘Allo convinced Ali’s father to allow him to learn the community school when he was 10 years old – 2 other brothers and one sister also joined. Ali quickly got very excited about reading and writing, the teacher had shown him books about Afar mystical stories with plenty of pictures. He did well and completed level 3 in alternative basic education (ABE). Then, there was not the 4th level in ABE and he was chosen as one of 3 students to go to Logya to learn staying in the project hostel in Logya – Ali says he remembers the hostel did look after them like family and he felt very safe in Logya although he missed the rural life. So, Ali started in the hostel when he was 14 years old.
Now he is the first person from Geega’s population of around 22,000 to actually enter university. He said his aim and dream was to study engineering so he could be a water engineer in Geega. He says his marks in the grade 12 exams were not high enough to enter the engineering faculty so the alternative was to study management. He has now completed 3 years of management and is going on to study a master’s degree and is trying to get into engineering. Ali says the two main things Geega needs is a medical doctor and also an engineer.
Kadir Ali ‘Allo [Seen in the Above Photo]–taken 19/07/23, APDA office
When asked what was hard about the years he has spent
studying Ali says once he was in grade 7, he started having very strong headaches and sometimes he could not hear at all. The community helped to pay for his treatment and he went to Mekele in Tigray as well as Dessie and till now, he really does not have a solution for that. For that, APDA is going to enquire if he can get better diagnosis in Addis Ababa.