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“Sawa: A Place for Learning and Personal Growth” – Graduates of the 35th Round of National Service

Habtom Tesfamichael



My name is Fesseha Fitwi, and I come from Serejeka sub-zone. I completed 11th grade at Deq-seb Secondary School. Stepping through the gates of Sawa felt like entering an entirely different world. The unfamiliar surroundings, from the infrastructure to the landscape, coupled with the distinctive climate, made the experience quite unique. When we first encountered at Sawa Training Center the staff members, who, in their military uniforms, briskly assigned us to divisions, we realized that we needed to adapt ourselves to the new situation. However, as time passed, what once looked like an alien environment became comforting.

A year at Sawa is a two-part journey. The first part involves completing 12th grade and sitting for matriculation exams. The latter part of four months to enriching us in terms of military training. In the academic phase, we had an exceptional experience that fostered a conducive learning environment. We had no shortage of teachers or materials. In addition to regular classes, we had tutorial sessions in our dormitories, which greatly impacted our academic performance. Contrary to preconceived notions, I discovered that Sawa is a place full of opportunities for dedicated learners.

One of the greatest benefits of being in Sawa is the opportunity to share and learn from students who come from different places. This exposure had a significant impact on our academic results. Sawa teaches you to live in harmony with Compatriots from diverse backgrounds.

Regarding the military training, we initially thought it would be tough, but once we convinced ourselves that we could do it, things became easier. One of the greatest benefits is that we’ve become physically strong after intense physical training. Additionally, the political awareness and military training we’ve received here have a profound impact on our physical and psychological well-being, and they will undoubtedly help us contribute to our country’s development and defense capabilities.

Eritreans from all nine ethnic groups converge at Sawa. It is often said that Eritrea is found in Sawa, rather than the other way around. This is because Sawa, a cultural melting pot, embraces students from diverse backgrounds, ensuring equality and fostering unity. For over a year, students live, eat, learn, and even learn new languages together.

The key message that future students should take away is that Sawa is a place for personal growth. When we were with our families, we didn’t have as much responsibility. We were told when to work, when to study, and so on. However, at Sawa, you are on your own. Life at Sawa urges one to take responsibility, efficiently manage time, and work diligently to achieve desired results.

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My name is Selam Abraham, and I completed my 11th grade at Keih Bahri Secondary School. When I was in Asmara, I struggled to manage my time efficiently and was often distracted for various reasons. Living with family in a city brings many distractions. However, everything is organized here at Sawa, and tasks are carried out in a very orderly manner. Every aspect of our day is scheduled, from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed. This discipline helped me effectively manage my time, a skill that I found challenging while living with my family in Asmara. The only significant hurdle was adjusting to Sawa’s hot climate, having come from a colder region. However, there is a common saying in Sawa that every student tries to adhere to: “Sleep less today to sleep well tomorrow.” This phrase is inscribed on every wall and school table. Although you may crave sleep in Sawa, the conditions are very tempting, and you have to challenge yourself and study if you want to succeed.

Regarding military training, it was physically demanding and challenging at times, but through perseverance, anything is possible. Every morning, we had to run, and after breakfast, we had to be back at the training field, which could be tiring. “The fatigue in Sawa gets washed away by Sawa’s water when you have a shower.” This is a common saying we fondly recite at Sawa, which is a testament to the resilience that the training center instills.

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My name is Feven Tekesteberhan, and I am from Weki-duba. I completed 11th grade at Asmara Comprehensive Secondary School. Sawa proved to be a stark contrast to the stories I had heard before. We were told that education in Sawa is uncomfortable because most of the time is spent on different tasks, leaving one fatigued by the time they have to study. However, when I arrived and experienced it for myself, I found it to be the opposite. We had ample time during the academic term, even better than at home for some of us. Those who were busy with different tasks back home now had enough time to dedicate themselves to learning.

One of the qualities of Sawa that stands out is its strict time management. There is no time to waste here, and everything is properly scheduled. Sawa ensures students make the most of their time, especially with the 12th-grade matriculation exam being a pivotal moment in their lives.

As for the military training, it was challenging at times, but with unwavering dedication and belief, we became a testament that it could be conquered.


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