Somaliland: 19 high schools take part in the Daariz Speed Reading Competition

In this handout photo provided by the Sahamiye Foundation, high school girls are seen participating in the ''Daariz'' speed reading competition held in Hargeysa, Somaliland.
In this handout photo provided by the Sahamiye Foundation, high school girls are seen participating in the ''Daariz'' speed reading competition held in Hargeysa, Somaliland.

More than 300 high school students selected by 19 high schools in Hargeysa, Somaliland, put their literacy skills to the test in the Daariz Speed Reading Competition. Organised by education non-profit, the Sahamiye Foundation, the event motivates students to improve their Somali language in a fun and interactive way, whilst celebrating the joy of reading.

Over the past month, 19 high schools took part in three exhilarating rounds of speed reading and comprehension using Daariz  – the free language app created by the Sahamiye Foundation.

In each round, students engaged in timed reading challenges in the app to determine the quickest reader with a high comprehension rate. Daariz uses a unique speed metre reader to help learners build confidence and reading automaticity, while the app’s virtual ‘camel’ badges reward students for each literacy milestone achieved.

With each round increasing in complexity, 60 students progressed to the semi-finals. On average, students displayed an impressive reading speed of 166 words per minute, with one young student named Cabdirashiid displaying an incredible reading speed of 469 words per minute!

Making literacy accessible to everyone is at the heart of Daariz. While encouraging students to have fun with Somali language learning, the competition also focuses on aiding girls to unlock their education potential.

The competition saw a significant turnout of 174 girls from the local schools, with 14 year old, Hibo, from Noradin Girls High School taking 1st place. Hibo’s outstanding performance was consistent throughout the competition, and her final score of 292 words per minute earned her the top prize of $500. Hibo said:

“My emotions are beyond words; I’m truly so happy… I am delighted that I was among the winners of the Daariz programme.”

Second and third place runners-up in the competition were also awarded prizes of $200 and $300 dollars respectively.

Previously, the Foundation’s 2022-23 Daariz Speed Reading Competition attracted 17,000 adults and young people from across 16 cities, with one dedicated young girl from Ethiopia’s Somali region who travelled 18 kms to compete.

The Sahamiye Foundation looks forward to hosting its next Daariz Speed Reading competition and welcoming as many high schools as possible to participate.

Hayat Arteh, founder of The Sahamiye Foundation, said:

“We are thrilled that so many students had fun taking part in the Daariz Speed Reading Competition. The event is a celebration of literacy and its transformative potential for young people. With Daariz, we hope to empower as many people as possible to read and write in their mother tongue language.”

About The Sahamiye Foundation

The Sahamiye Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming lives in the Horn of Africa through the promotion of literacy and education. We believe in a world where everyone, no matter their location or circumstances, has the opportunity to learn. We created Daariz, an innovative suite of free education apps and e-learning platforms, to make quality education accessible to all. Our first app – Daariz Somali – offers free, fun and engaging lessons in reading, writing and comprehension. Accessible through basic smartphones, Daariz is helping children and adults to boost their skills and confidence in literacy.

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