By Munira Abdelmenan Awel
ANKARA (AA) – Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) on Tuesday said the Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, which it restored six years ago, currently hosts 500 students.
According to Turkey's religious services consultant in Somalia Ahmet Akturk, numerous students were orphans. TDV said 270 of these students are boarders.
''All of the students' costs are covered by TDV and the foundation will make sure the students continue their university studies,'' he added.
Turkey began to set up various projects in Somalia in 2011 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an initiative to help the East African country, which was undergoing a famine due to drought.
The initiative later grew to other humanitarian activities and educational projects, according to the statement.
Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School, which has existed in Mogadishu since 1960, stopped functioning in 1991 due to civil war.
According to TDV , a new protocol signed with the Ministry of Education of Somalia in 2012 led to the resumption of educational activities.
Approximately 2,000 students apply to the school every year but only a hundred are accepted due to quota restrictions.
Eleventh grade student Muhammad Hasan said the school was a "great opportunity" for all students there.
"We get a combination of scientific and religious knowledge, we learn in the best way," Hasan added.
According to Leyla Sherif, another student, the school provides not only education but safety and health services too.
“Our school is one of the best schools in Somalia. We learn both religion and science and my favorite course is Turkish,'' Leyla added.
Since 2011, TDV has built centers for the disabled, hospitals, and orphanages in Mogadishu.