By upholding the basic right of every child to receive an education, UNHCR aims to prevent a ‘lost generation’ of youth who are unable to forge a future for themselves or help rebuild their country.
But as the number of people forcibly displaced by conflict rises, resources are increasingly stretched.
Unfortunately, half of school-age refugee children do not attend school. Refugee girls are even less likely to attend and generally only receive a few years of formal schooling.
Quality education helps refugee children prepare for the future and recover from the effects of trauma. Access to a safe place to learn reduces the chance of exploitative and dangerous child labour. It can also greatly reduce the risk of early child marriages for girls.
“I really want to help others without asking for anything in return. My motto is: give, give and never stop giving.”
Fatima is studying at Cairo University with support from UNHCR’s DAFI scholarship program, helping refugees complete higher education.
When 19-year-old Sophie fled armed conflict in South Sudan, she made sure to bring her science book. She was determined to continue working towards her goal of becoming a doctor.
“I carried the book because I love sciences and I wanted the book to keep me focused,” Sophie says. “I want to be a doctor because, in my motherland, these opportunities are mostly left for the men.”
She now lives in Bidibidi refugee settlement in north-western Uganda. It’s Africa’s largest refugee camp and hosts 235,000 refugees who have fled violence and conflict.
More than half are children between the ages of three and 17.
With the support of Australian donors, UNHCR is rebuilding a school, contributing to teachers’ salaries and reducing class sizes. This means students like Sophie can receive a quality education – an important step towards a more secure future.
The Year 10 student is very grateful for the generosity that enables her to stay in school.
“I feel good and loved that there are people out there who are willing to sacrifice and give us the education we get here. I appreciate them for the great work done.”
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.