Djibouti Children and School

By | June 20, 2021

Do children go to school in Djibouti?

Schooling is free in Djibouti and schooling is compulsory up to the age of 16. But only 69 out of 100 boys and 60 out of 100 girls attend school at all. So the rate of people who cannot read and write is also very high.

But there are also private schools in Djibouti, for example in the capital Djibouti City. These are mostly French schools that also attend the children of employees from abroad. And there are schools whose system corresponds to the school system in France.

Child labor in Djibouti

Many children have to work. Many do small odd jobs to support their families, such as cleaning shoes, washing cars, or helping out in restaurants. Then there are the children, who have to help their parents with the herds from a very early age. Some girls also work as prostitutes and have to sell themselves.

Playing is important!

But children in Djibouti also want to play, even if there is often too little time. Like many other children in Africa, they have a lot of imagination. A soccer ball is quickly tinkered with old rags. The most important thing is to meet up with friends.

Djibouti Schools

Everyday Life

More poor than rich

Poverty and wealth are close together in Djibouti, a country located in Africa according to This results on the one hand, petroleum refining American investors and on the other hand, there are the huts of residents who do not have a water supply again. In general, clean water and above all fresh water is a big problem in this hot desert country, where temperatures can sometimes reach more than 50 degrees on the thermometer. Many people lack access to drinking water.

The cause of the water shortageis also the dry climate, which repeatedly leads to droughts and destroys the farmers’ harvests and also kills the herds. In 2001 one of the largest drought disasters occurred in the region, which also affected Djibouti. 18 out of 100 people live below the poverty line.

Most people live in the cities of Djibouti because they no longer earn anything in the countryside. They have great hopes of finding work in the city and are often bitterly disappointed. 60 out of 100 people are unemployed in the cities and a large number of them are still very young.

Many people get by with odd jobs. You do not work regularly, but only occasionally, just when that happens. Often times, a family not only has to feed its own children, but also the children of relatives who have died.

Orphans in Djibouti

Orphans, i.e. children who have lost both parents, often have a particularly difficult time in Djibouti. If they are lucky, they will be looked after by their relatives, but they often have to do with feeding their own children. In some regions every fifth child is an orphan. The parents die early due to the harsh living conditions.

In this video you get to know children from Djibouti who are to be taken in as orphans in a new SOS Children’s Village. Mothers and children are selected for this. You can see how this works here.

View of the capital Djibouti

It can get loud and hectic in Djibouti City. The air smells of salt, Djibouti is right on the sea. Dealers sit here and wait for something to be bought from them. However, many products do not come from Djibouti at all, but from abroad. Here, for example, you can easily buy a t-shirt with the Bayern Munich label on it.

Lots of people cavort on the buses, pushing and pushing, shouting and screaming. Somehow they all want to move forward and end up just stuck together. Many have also been waiting for a while. But the alternative – the taxi – would be too expensive. Often only foreigners in Djibouti or the richer people can afford this.

Cargo ships from all over the world anchor at the port. Naval ships are also coming, from Germany, France or the USA. They have their bases here and go on pirate hunt in the waters of Somalia from Djibouti (see everyday life in Somalia).

The city center is worth seeing. There are old buildings from the colonial erathat have been restored, next to buildings that have simply been left as they are. There are few high-rise buildings, most of the houses only have four floors and small terraces that have been decorated. You will find bakeries, small shops and stores as well as old villas. Many have fallen into disrepair, but have their own aura. Influences from France, Arabia and Africa can be found here: a colorful mixture.

Anyone who moves away from the city center ends up in the middle of poor Africa. There are large corrugated iron settlements here. Children, mostly without shoes, beggars, the sick and disabled, women with babies, they all look for and find their place here. But mostly they cannot stay. Many properties serve as objects that are sold. Hotels and supermarkets or the like are to be built on it.