Tigray Students Forced to Sit on Stones as War Ruins Everything

In the aftermath of the devastating genocidal war against Tigray, students are forced to sit on stones to attend classes due to the severe damage inflicted on educational infrastructure.

Pictured are students at a school in Endabatsahima , Central Zone of Tigray, enduring extreme hardships as they attend classes sitting on stones. This dire situation arises from the deliberate destruction and theft of their chairs by invaders and, at times, as a result of collateral damage from the war.

The widespread impact of the genocidal war waged against Tigray by the federal government, Amhara forces, and Eritrean soldiers has left the education system in shambles. Schools, teaching materials, and the education infrastructure have suffered extensive damage, demanding urgent collaborative efforts for reconstruction.

One glaring issue is the shortage of student seats. Dr. Kiros Guesh, the head of the Education Bureau of the Interim Administration of Tigray, estimates a need for approximately 800,000 student bench chairs, amounting to a staggering cost of 4 billion Birr. With only 1,000,000 students that the interim administration is able to return to the education system, the immediate requirement is more than 300,000 combined desks, necessitating a budget of over 1.5 billion Birr.

But there is a very limited production capacity of chairs in Tigray at the moment, with no more than 400 combined desks that could be manufactured per day. At this rate, it would take a minimum of 750 days (two years) to meet the immediate demand. This underscores the urgency of collaboration to enhance manufacturing capabilities and secure the necessary funds.

While the focus here is on student chairs, the broader scope of recovery involves repairing buildings, restoring libraries and laboratories, acquiring books and IT facilities, and re-establishing essential services such as water, electricity, and the internet. Additionally, there is a need to hire new teachers to fill the void left by those who were killed, displaced, or migrated.

One can imagine how vast the amount of resources required for this endeavor could be.