By Demissew Bizuwerk
Hayria, 11, remembers the day her village was attacked. “When I first heard gunshots, I didn’t think it was anything serious. But the sounds kept getting closer,” she says.
Concerned for their safety, the family fled their home in Dangur woreda, a district in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in northwest Ethiopia, and spent the night at Hayria’s grandmother’s house.
The gunfire continued through the night. “I was terrified. I couldn’t stop crying,” Hayria says.
The family decided to travel to the neighbouring Amhara region, eventually arriving in Chagni, which is currently home to around 49,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to the Amhara regional government.
Hayria and her family fled their village in northwest Ethiopia after it was attacked.
“I’m not sure where my friends are. I don’t know what happened to them,” says Hayria, who is now one of around 20,000 children displaced by violence in Benishangul-Gumuz since November 2020.
Like many other students, she was excited about the upcoming academic year. “My mother had already bought me exercise books,” she says. “I really wanted to learn. I miss my school and my friends.”