Growing up can be tough, but imagine growing up as a refugee. After fleeing conflict, many young people not only lose their homes, friends and communities, but their access to education and employment opportunities as well.

Grace was at school when militia attacked her Congolese town 10 years ago. She escaped through a classroom window and together the children fled to neighbouring Uganda.

Now, at the age of 19, Grace faces an uncertain future. In Kyaka II refugee settlement where she lives, there are very few opportunities for her to learn a trade and find a job.

Grace's dream is to become a hairdresser with her own salon.

"With my business, I could help support my sisters with school fees," she says. "I could buy books, clothes, food and medicine so we don't have to feel like beggars."
Grace who's dream is to become a hairdresser with her own salon | Young refugees shape their own futures

You can help young women like Grace, 19, achieve her dreams and make a better life for herself and her family. © Australia for UNHCR

Kyaka II refugee settlement is home to 27,000 people from surrounding countries, and over half are aged under 30. After they complete primary and secondary school, further education for these young people is extremely limited.

In August 2017, Australia for UNHCR launched an appeal to raise funds to build a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Kyaka II to help thousands of young refugees achieve self-reliance and build a better future for themselves and their families.

Thanks to your support, construction of classrooms and student dormitories is now well underway. When the centre opens in 2019, it will offer accredited training in a wide range of trades and services from hairdressing and catering to carpentry and motor mechanics.

With World Youth Skills Day coming up this week, we acknowledge the importance of skill development for displaced young people and celebrate their determination to shape their own futures.

With your support, UNHCR works to empower young people through education and livelihoods.

Help a young refugee build a better future today.
Give your support
Students attend a class session in the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) | Young refugees shape their own futures

Students attend a hairdressing class session in the Vocational Training Centre © Australia for UNHCR

Share this:

facebook twitter

You can help

Make a donation

Every donation makes a real and lasting difference in the lives of refugees.

Organise a fundraiser

Host a bake sale, climb a mountain or do a fun run to raise funds for vital aid.