Interview with students of Halai Secondary School
No matter where they are and what material possessions they have, it is a culture for Eritreans to assist each other when the need arises. Halay Secondary School has therefore taken a first of its kind initiative to participate in such a noble moral obligation towards assisting the families of the fallen heroes. Shabait has conducted a brief interview with 11th graders Adiam Habte and Meron Kiflay, members of students Committee of the School. Excerpts follow:
Halay secondary school has decided to assume responsibility to assist four families of the fallen heroes. How did this idea incept and how was the students’ response to this initiative?
Our school director, Mr. Simon Mehari came up with the idea of assisting the families of the fallen heroes. At first, he shared the idea with three monitors and it was gradually spread to each student. The fallen heroes have passed away for the common cause leaving families and children behind them. So, it is our moral obligation to assist these families who lost their bread winners for the very common cause. Based on this, there was an instant respond on part of the students and some of them have even expressed reediness to contribute beyond 12 Nakfa. The government has been assisting the families of the fallen heroes since independence period, but each student open heartily agreed to make this minimal share. Finally, we collected the money and delivered it to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare.
The total number of students in the School is around 3000 but you have contributed more than 24 thousand Nakfa. Each student has also contributed 1 Nakfa per a month. What mechanism did you utilize to collect this amount of money?
The total number of students and teachers of the school does not exceed 3000. It would have been difficult to collect 1 Nakfa each month from each student. But, we have contributed above 24 thousand Nakfa for each student of the school decided to contribute the annual payment of 12 Nakfa altogether at once. Through this amount of money, we have decided to assist four families of fallen heroes and this would sustain us for about a year.
You all believe that assisting the families of the fallen heroes is an integral part of the national values; you have also planned to sustain this program. But what are the plans charted out towards that end?
This year, we will head to Sawa to pursue our 12th grade education at Warsay Yikealo Senior Secondary School. But, we also want to see others following our food steps. The school is also planning to sustain this program. Assisting any person who is in need of help is just a culture in Eritrea. Even though we do not think other students would forget this noble deed, but we still need to bequeath this initiative to others. We would like to see each of the about 20 secondary schools in the central region to assist four families of fallen heroes. Through this, we would alleviate Government’s heavy burden. We have been selected as students’ committed to be role models, but other students have also shown greater enthusiasm.
Adiam if you have additional opinion on this?
If one asks about the sustainability of this program, one thing should be taken in to account and that is discipline of the students. We have just taken the preliminary initiative and this would definitely continue. What is needed is just bequeathing such values to others through practical initiatives like we did. We need to see a new students committee selected from the 9th grade. Since this program has been organized at a school level, I am certain about its sustainability.
The initiative taken by the students of the school to assist the families of the fallen heroes is first of its kind. But, apart from the monetary assistance, what would be your future relationships with the families?
It is not the amount of the money which counts most, but rather it has a profound meaning. The principal aim of such an initiative is to keep the inherent cultural values. This country is martyrs legacy. Sacrificing their lives, they make us learn in comfort. The idea was to collectively assist to those who need help and this has been inculcated in the minds of the students. We have aimed to give hopes to these families, and the ultimate goal is to intensify the relationship bond with these families.
At first, we believed that we cannot make a share in assisting the families of the fallen heroes. But, this experience taught us that we could make a good contribution with just a minimal share. We also need to personally get acquainted with these families and there by reinforce our relationships. Each Eritrean family has a martyr. The four families we are about to assist are in the central region. And the advantage of this is that we can easily develop contacts.
What do you feel to see the initiatives you took being realized?
As students of Halay Secondary School we feel honored to be part of this preliminary initiative. What really impressed me is the nobility of the idea. The message it conveys to our youngest brothers and sisters is indeed of a great value. This gives us moral satisfaction. I would like to commend the Administration of Halay Secondary School for becoming vanguard to the initiative. This would become a lesson for other schools to follow.
I would like to admire, Mr. Simon, director of the school for his initiative. This, however, should not be confined to Halay only. I would like to see such initiatives nurtured as culture; be it in Halay or other secondary schools and other organizations as well.