OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Limited Access to Higher Education for Refugees

Give Education To A Refugee Learner; Restore His/her Living Hope.

Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian
9 5

Written by


Educating displaced students would offer them the ability to make great change in their future and also the future of their societies. Education restores hope into the heart of displaced student not only for themselves but also for their fellow human beings.

“Helping students continue their education gives the student an intellectual stimulus the routine of camp life can't provide, a focus away from the destructive forces of cities caught up in conflict, and hope for the future. Hope both for the student and for their country. Education received by a refugee today will help transform that young woman or man into a leader tomorrow; someone who can rebuild their country, or, if resettled to a third country, someone who can contribute in a fulfilling and vibrant manner to a new life in a new land.” (Retrieved from: http://www.jrsusa.org/news_detail?-20121124053710).

It is difficult to generalize the lives and experiences of displaced students, but many have lived through the traumatic experience of fleeing their country and separation from their beloved family members. Education is a means for displaced students to recover from their loss of hope. However, they continue to face obstacles to their education including: age-discrimination, language barriers, interrupted formal education, and lack of access. 

Access to higher education would allow refugees to become the change makers needed most in their societies, therefore it is essential to examine: 

What can be done to increase higher education opportunities for refugees?



JC-HEM Cohort 2 Kakuma graduates (Most of them are holding Admissions from the local Universities but they find it difficult to support themselves in order to pursue their educational goals. Keep in mind that a refugee earns an incentive of less a $100 which makes it difficult for a refugee to save for his/her University studies.)


9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Amelia Swift

Refugees can face many barriers to getting to higher education, including an absence of data, counsel and individual direction touchy to their particular needs, insufficient arrangement of concentrated dialect courses for scholastic purposes, and confined access to government student finance schemes. https://www.assignmentmode.co.uk

Spam
Photo of Tonee Ndungu

Christopher,
Thanks for roping me in. Christian, bravo for your hard work and determination brother. I have been to Kakuma many times (I worked for the UNHCR years ago and came for work). It is a tough place. Much like Dadaab which I visited last month working on getting tablets to you and your friends there. Arjan talks about MOOCs and we are trying to bring tablets with pre-installed courses for you and your colleagues. It is a touch task because not many people believe you have tablets or can power them. Last time I was there, I saw that tough people like yourself had figured it out. Inspiring indeed. Here is what we are doing in Dadaab (http://www.unhcr.org/5436a6cf6.html). Tell me if it makes sense to you. I am the guy behind Http://kytabu.org. Stay focused and driven Christian. It pays off..

Spam
Photo of Shane Zhao

Tonee, you might be interested in connecting with Bodo and his Dev4x team here: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/autonomous-self-schooling-platform
They've been working on the same challenge of making tablets with pre-installed courses available as affordable educational tools .

Spam
Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Dear Tonee,
This is a very exciting job that you are doing and I think that with these tablets me and my fellow refugees here we can get to learn more skills. For example, I was to do a specialization in entrepreneurship at Coursera Free online courses but after my computer crashed I was unable. Tonee, you are doing a very exciting work and I can't wait to see you moving in and help us to continue learning. Briefly, I would like to say that it really make sense to me and I believe that everyone around me will appreciate your initiative. Finally, I thank you for your words of encouragements and I would like to let you know that throughout my life's struggle, I've learned to never give up; instead to build the living hope for a better future to me and everyone around me (community).

Spam
Photo of Tonee Ndungu

Thanks Shane. Looked at the link and it looks super interesting indeed... Must reach out :-)

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan

Thanks for sharing this, Emerimana. I have two questions. First, you mention, and quote from, a JRS publication. It sounds like an interesting piece, and I would like to read more from it. Do you have a link to it?
The second question: from your profile I see that you live in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, and have completed a Higher Education program. I would be very interested to hear what your personal view is. No one better to explain this, than someone with personal experience!

I like your challenge at the end of the contribution. It is a question that I've been thinking about a lot lately. You can see an idea forming in my contribution here: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/combining-moocs-and-meetups

Spam
Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Hello Arjan,
First of all, I would like to send my apology to have not cited my contribution. (Here is the link: http://www.jrsusa.org/news_detail?TN=NEWS-20121124053710).
Before I moved to Kakuma which is one of the refugee camps existing here in Kenya, I lived in an undeveloped region of Africa in Burundi. I feared for my safety due to the ongoing political and civil conflict in Burundi, as the militia group of the current ruling party torture and kill those who seem to be not their supporters. Since I was not interested in politics, I faced a lot of threats of death which led to my flight to Kakuma refugee camp/Kenya. From the time that I arrived here in the camp, life has not been easy. I tried so many times to get back to school but due to the fact that I completed my studies back in my home country; it was very difficult for me to get back on the track of my educational journey.
Language barrier was also another obstacle to my will of continuing with my education. Despite, all these difficulties I learned to never give up hoping that one day the light of the day will follow. I developed self-esteem which enabled me to train myself on how to become good at English and well enough, it helped me to do better during the 2011 JC-HEM’s admission process and completed my Diploma last year with a highest grade (3.826 out 4 GPA).
Briefly, I would say yes—I live in kakuma as you have seen and have completed a Higher Education program but for me I feel like a Diploma is not enough. I need to acquire more and more as for me to be the change I need in my life which I believe that it will serve as a paved way for me to be the change agent in the lives of my fellow human beings. Regardless the fact that I am still thirsty and hungry of moving an extra-mile towards my educational career; I appreciate what JC:HEM offered to me as such as a tertiary education. (You can read more about my personal view here: http://alumni.jc-hem.org/Assets/Publications/File/Daniel%20Emerimana%20Alumni%20Facilitator%20.pdf).

Spam
Photo of Arjan Tupan

Wow, impressive story, Emerimana. And you should be proud that you have finished your education, despite the adversities life has brought you. You're an example for many students in Europe!
One idea I aim to propose in the next phase, will focus on leveraging the power of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Maybe you've heard of them. If not, check out, for example, Coursera and edX. On these platforms, many universities offer courses for free.
It would be great to see many ideas develop here, and come to fruition in the Impact phase, which will help people like you to build skills they want and need to improve their lives. And I sincerely wish the day comes that you can return to a peaceful Burundi, and help lead your country to thrive.

Spam
Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Hi Arjan,
Yes, I have heard about them. And as a matter of fact I have so far completed 6 courses through Coursera and I am aiming to do as many courses as possible. I was touched when you says that: "And I sincerely wish the day comes that you can return to a peaceful Burundi, and help lead your country to thrive." I wish this too! All I need is a package of skills to go back with because education back in my home countries is not that much of good quality and people are suffering from poverty and political hates. I wish I could get an opportunity to go for a Bachelor in Leadership and management; but my wish remains unfulfilled and I still have hope that one day I will be one of the social influential contributors towards my country's poverty and conflict recovery.