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Daud Ali, a British-Somali educator, died April 13 at his school.

Daud Ali, a British-Somali educator, died April 13 at his school.

MCC and EMM express condolences in slaying of Somali educator

Tim Shenk
April 18, 2008

AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) are expressing condolences to the families of Daud Ali, a British-Somali educator, and three other teachers who were killed in an April 13 raid on their school in Belet Weyne, Somalia.

According to news reports, a Somali armed group killed Ali and three other teachers in a nighttime raid on Hakab Private English School, where they taught and resided. MCC and EMM helped to pay teachers' salaries at the school.

Ali, who was in his mid-60s, lived in England for most of his adult life. In 2005, he started returning for months at a time to his hometown, Belet Weyne, to found a school for local children.

Ann and Jerry King-Grosh, who served as Somalia representatives for MCC and EMM, met Ali in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2005. Ann King-Grosh said Ali worked with great courage in an insecure environment. Somalia continues to be plagued by fighting among a variety of armed groups in the aftermath of a civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The country lacks public schools, so Ali's efforts will be sorely missed, she said.

"Personally, I am very grieved," she said. "I highly respected Daud and his dedication."

Ali was buried in Belet Weyne on April 14. He is survived by his wife Margaret Ali and their two sons, all living in Britain.

The school was scheduled to move into a new, recently constructed building later this year. According to Margaret Ali, the building is a testament to her husband's dream of providing a quality education to children in his hometown.

"Had there been no permanent school building, it would have been a great temptation to fold the work up and say 'We tried but it just didn't work out,'" Margaret Ali wrote in an e-mail. "Now we cannot walk away until we make more efforts to ensure that those classrooms are filled with children working away at their desks, engaged in that most human of activities, learning something new."