Kenyan teachers who had sought greener pastures in Somaliland have decried mistreatment by their employer
Interviews with 17 teachers, some of whom returned to Kenya recently and who asked that we protect their identities for fear of reprisals, reveal multiple allegations of false promises during recruitment, gross underpayment, instant deportations, abuse of labour practices, sexual harassment, inadequate food, substandard accommodation and lack of freedom of movement and association.
Elm opened in 2007 and is popular with Somaliland’s elite and Somali refugee returnees from the United States and Europe. Its promotional videos on social media boast that it is a “centre of excellence, a safe and secure environment that encourages students to realise their full potential”.
The school is owned by a Kenyan, and is the biggest employer of Kenyan teachers in Somaliland, Mr Samia says, with 70 teachers from Kenya and about 40 from Somaliland in its kindergarten, lower and upper primary, and secondary sections. The school’s day-to-day activities are directed by Jibril Ahmed.
But life is very different for the Kenyan men and women who teach the children. Many teachers who spoke to the Nation say school officials usually keep the teachers’ passports, effectively limiting their movement in a foreign land. “When you land in Hargeisa, that is the last time you see your passport,” Paul says.