Refugee schools in
State receive school materials
23 February 2010
– UNHCR donated school materials including benches, chairs, exercise books, pens, pencils, electric fans and footballs to six refugee schools in
State. The hand-over ceremony was presided over by UNHCR Representative, Peter de Clercq. Also present at the ceremony were Mr. Abdulla Suliman, Deputy Commissioner for Refugees, and representatives from
State, Ministry Of Culture and Ministry of Education as well as faculty and students from the refugee schools.
Peter de Clercq, praised the refugee communities for their commitment to ensuring that children received proper education. “Enabling school children to learn in the language and curriculum of their home countries allows them to maintain a sense of identity, a sense of knowing where they come from, which as we all know is a vital human need. Moreover, education is the road to dignity and self-reliance, and will ensure that the dependency often attributed to refugees can be minimised or avoided altogether.” Mr. de Clercq noted that urban refugees, who number an estimated 30,000, are largely self dependent and generally endure the same forms of hardship as the urban poor, with difficult access to health services, education, housing and meaningful livelihood opportunities. Protection risks are magnified, especially among women and children, who become extremely vulnerable to different forms of exploitation and abuse.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Suliman commended the work of the refugee community emphasizing the vital role that education plays in shaping children to become productive members of society. Speaking on behalf of refugees, Mr. Berhe Gebre Medhin appealed for support to improve the quality of education afforded to refugee children so as to afford them a meaningful future.
The six refugee schools are located in different parts of
State. They provide education to over 4,000 refugee children. The majority come from
Eritrea while smaller numbers come from
Ethiopia and other countries. The private schools are run through community initiatives and rely on funding from community members.
“We don’t get any funding from government or any other entities; we rely solely on fees paid by families and other local support” says Jamal Hassan, Vice Director of the
School, which provides education for 2,300 children.
“The support of the UNHCR is highly appreciated and I think it will help us to provide education for our children in spite of the lack of resources” stresses Hassan.
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