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.

Over 19 high schools comprising 174 girls across Somaliland recently participated in a speed reading competition in the capital, Hargeysa, using ‘’Daariz,’’ a free language app. Daariz means study in Arabic.

The contest organized by the education non-profit, the Sahamiye Foundation, is focused on helping students improve their Somali language while honoring ‘’the joy of reading,’’ a statement to the VOA said.

‘’In each round, students engaged in timed reading challenges in the app to determine the quickest reader with a high comprehension rate,’’ it said.

‘’Daariz uses a unique speed meter reader to help learners build confidence and reading automaticity, while the app’s virtual ‘camel’ badges reward students for each literacy milestone achieved.’’

60 students made it to the semi-final stage as each round gained momentum. The statement added that: ‘’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.’’

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.

In the end, 14-year-old Hibo from Noradin Girls High School took the first place with a score of 292 words per minute, earning her the top prize of $500.

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

The second and third place runners-up were awarded prizes of $200 and $300 dollars respectively.

Hayat Arteh, founder of the Sahamiye Foundation said she was ‘’thrilled’’ about the patronage of the 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,” Arteh noted.

Sahamiye Foundation is a charity founded by Ismail Ahmed, a Somaliland-born business mogul, which according to its website is “dedicated to transforming lives through the promotion of literacy and education.”

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