Thousands of children in refugee camps who have attained school going age cannot access education, despite Kenya implementing free education for all primary pupils 13 years ago.
United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says lack of funding has contributed to failure to achieve this fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
UNHCR representative in Kenya Fathiaa Abdalla said that out of the more than 450,000 refugees in Kenya, only 13 percent of school-age children attend school.
“There 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 fulfill their dreams,” she said.
She was speaking on Thursday when the UNHCR and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) launched a campaign to support hundreds of thousands of refugee youth in Kenya who do not attend school because of lack of funding.
Supkem chairperson Yusuf Nzibo praised the initiative saying the funds drive will be held during Iftar and that the money raised will sponsor education for refugees living in Kakuma and Daadab Camps in northern Kenya.
“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 Ambassador Nzibo.
“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.
The daily funds drive will be attended by leaders from the Muslim community, business community, government representatives and members of the diplomatic corps till the end of the Holy month.