INTERVIEW: UN seeks global support in schooling refugee children in Horn of Africa

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OTTAWA (HOL) – The United Nations High Commission for refugees is seeking a greater global commitment in helping educate over a million children living in refugee camps in the horn of Africa who are out of school to help them build them a better future, it’s envoy for the region said on Wednesday.

According to UNHCR, 104,331 of the total refugee camp population in three camps in Kenya are of school-going children aged 3-17 years, constituting half of the population. However, due to lack of access to higher education opportunities, many of the school-age children in the camps don’t have access to education.

“Young people who live in refugee camps don’t have access to education, therefore it’s easy for them to take to the wrong path and join terrorist groups,” said Mohamed Abdi Afffey, The UNHR’s Special Representative for the Horn of Africa who is currently visiting Canada in an interview with Hiiraan Online.

“As a result, it’s important that they have access to education so that they can have a brighter future to look forward to.” He noted.

During his official visit, Mr. Affey has held talks with Canada’s immigration and citizenship minister Ahmed Hussein, in a meeting which largely covered issues related to refugees in the horn of Africa region and appealed for Canada to raise its education grants to the refugee children, mostly Somalis who live in the refugee camps in the horn of Africa.

The Canadian government has allocated about $3 billion to girls’ education programs around the world, a donation that Mr. Afey has lauded during his meeting with the Canadian minister in which he has also highlighted the importance of educating girls in refugee camps.

About one million Somali refugees live in camps in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, said Mr. Affey who briefed the situation of refugees to the Canadian Parliamentary Committee for Refugees

Ambassador Afey also met Horn Africa Communities in Ottawa and encouraged them to take part on helping refugees in Horn Africa.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy who is set to wrap up his working trip to Canada on Thursday is also expected to travel to more countries in seeking donor funding for the new large campaign.

According to the recent UNHCR’s global report on education, Turn the Tide, only 1% of refugees have access to higher education.

In the past three years, more than 3,260 refugee students have completed secondary school in Dadaab camps with dreams of pursuing   higher education, the agency said. However, due to lack of access to higher education opportunities, many of these graduates live in the camps with limited opportunities for higher education.  According to the UNHCR global report on education, Turn the Tide, only 1% of refugees have access to higher education

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