UNHCR CAMPAIGN

150,000 refugee kids to get new curriculum material

The rollout of the new curriculum requires all existing learning materials to be replaced.

In Summary

• Aside from learning materials, there is an urgent need for additional school desks.

• Mercy Masika, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, saw the state of schools during a recent visit to Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana county.

Children play outside a refugee shelter in Kalobeiyei settlement, Kakuma.
Children play outside a refugee shelter in Kalobeiyei settlement, Kakuma.

At least 150,000 refugees in primary schools and the pre-primary level will benefit from learning materials in a campaign led by the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

The campaign aims to bring access to adequate and quality education for learners in refugee camps, currently threatened by an acute lack of learning materials and classroom facilities.  

This situation becomes even more serious as the rollout of the new curriculum requires all existing learning materials to be replaced.

“Education is vital for the future of refugee children and a key priority for UNHCR.  The critical deficit of up to date learning materials has resulted in an average of seven refugee students sharing one schoolbook amongst themselves," said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya. 

"We believe that the private sector, including individuals, companies, and foundations, can play a large role in ensuring refugee access to education so that no child is left behind,” she added.

Aside from learning materials, there is an urgent need for additional school desks.

Mercy Masika, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, saw the state of schools during a recent visit to Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana county.

“I witnessed firsthand pre-primary classes where schoolchildren were sitting on the classroom floor and primary students were taking exams outside in the open air due to lack of facilities. As a Kenyan who’s proud of my country’s commitment to education, I strongly believe we can help these young refugee children,” she said.

Adding their support to the No Child Left Behind campaign are LuQuLuQu Supporters, Amina Abdi, Pinky Ghelani, Dr King’ori and others.

The campaign aims to raise funds from Kenya’s private sector to provide refugee students with up to date schoolbooks, school desks, fund teacher training, and improve educational facilities.

The lack of new curriculum learning materials is a major problem in all camps. 

Early this year, a group of youth, led by Abdullahi Mire, donated 5,000 books which comprised of the current syllabus and other reading materials.

Mire said the student’s population in Daadab is about 11,000 with only six secondary schools, saying the constant threats by the government have demoralised learners.

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

The group also does mentorship programmes as well identification of diverse talents among refugees.

They have also been conducting online campaigns under Dadaab book drive that they said have attracted senior officials including the Qatari ambassador who have donated a significant number of books.