Hundreds of thousands of refugee youth in Kenya do not attend school because of lack of funding, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) cautioned today. UNHCR and SUPKEM are working together for the first time ever to launch a campaign during Ramadan calling on members of the public, including individuals, companies, and foundations to contribute funds to increase access to education for refugees in Kenya.
Kenya is host to more than 450,000 refugees, 77 percent of whom are women and children. The majority of refugee children living in Kenya’s Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps only have access to primary education. Less than one third of refugee school-age children are able to attend secondary school and only 13 per cent of refugee youth have access to tertiary education.
“These are distressing statistics revealing the disparagingly low number of refugees accessing education in Kenya. Behind these statistics are children and youth, boys and girls, aspiring to be teachers, doctors, business owners – but instead, they are sitting in limbo, waiting for a chance to fulfil their dreams,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya.
A funding shortfall for UNHCR’s education programmes has resulted in the lack of basic infrastructure and a shortage of qualified teaching personnel essential to provide quality education to refugee children and youth in Kenya.
“By joining efforts with SUPKEM in this holy month of Ramadan, our hope is that we can draw attention and support to this growing crisis. Members of the public, community and business leaders have an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of refugees and the host communities in Kakuma and Dadaab camp by improving their access to education,” said Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.
UNHCR and SUPKEM will be hosting an Iftar fundraising dinner for leaders from the Muslim community, business community, government representatives and members of the diplomatic corps.
“The holy month of Ramadan is a time where Muslims embark on a path of spiritual self-reflection and intensify our response to alleviate the suffering of others. Many refugees in Kenya have lived in forced displacement for over 20 years. With this campaign, we can help alleviate some of their suffering,” said Yusuf A. Nzibo, SUPKEM Chairman.
The campaign will run during the entire month of Ramadan. To support this campaign, please visit: donate.unhcr.org/education