EDUCATION FOR REFUGEES

Educating refugees will stabilise their countries - UNHCR envoy

In Summary

•UN had urged the countries hosting refugees to enroll children in national systems with a proper curriculum.

•Community and business leaders have an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of refugees.

UNHCR Special envoy for the Horn of Africa Ambassador Mohamed Affey in Nairobi during a meeting with Supkem on May 2, 2019.
UNHCR Special envoy for the Horn of Africa Ambassador Mohamed Affey in Nairobi during a meeting with Supkem on May 2, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

Educating refugee youths will contribute to stability in their countries of origin, UNHCR special envoy Mohamed Affey has said.

“If we educate refugee youth particularly in Kenya, we will certainly contribute to the stability and progress of the countries of origin.  We have seen young people who have been educated in Kenya who are now certain important government officials in Somalia and South Sudan," he said.

Affey spoke in Nairobi on Thursday during a meeting with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims as they partnered to raise funds to educate children in refugee camps.

He said the community and business leaders have an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of refugees.

 Supkem chairperson Yusuf Nzibo said failure to educate youths in refugees camps makes them susceptible to engaging in crime.

“These youths are idle, hence sustainable to all sorts of things including drugs, being confused into Jihadist movements, being jailed in Libyan prisons for trying to illegally cross borders into Europe and being radicalised,” he said.

Nzibo also called upon leaders and the business community to join them on May 11, during Iftar to raise funds to help children.

Last year, a United Nations report indicated that education was in crisis as children being enrolled in schools reduced despite the high number of refugees.

The report indicated that by the end of 2017, there were more than 25.4 million refugees around the world, 19.9 million of them under UNHCR’s mandate. It further stated that more than half (52 per cent) were children and 7.4 million of them were of school age.

UN had urged the countries hosting refugees to enroll refugee children in national systems with a proper curriculum to allow for recognised qualifications that can act as a springboard to university or higher vocational training.

It further notes that countries in developing regions host 92 per cent of the world’s school-age refugees and need more sustained financial support from the international community.

Last month, a group of Garissa youths donated 5,000 books to students in Dadaab refugee camp.

The refugee camp has a student population of 11,000 and only six secondary schools.

The group leader, Abdullahi Mire, had said the students were demoralised by reports the government would close the camp.

“Most students are eager to learn because they know education can change the state of their home country, but they get demoralised every time the government threatens to close the camp,” he said.