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UNHCR Journalism Mentorship Programme for Refugees

​The UNHCR Journalism Mentorship Programme for Refugees (JMP) supports forcibly displaced people, providing training in journalism and advocacy.

This programme is kindly supported by the IKEA Foundation.

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Hala Haj Taleb

I survived the war to guide fellow refugees, sharing the same background and passion, to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential through proper education and experience.  

Hala Haj Taleb was displaced for four years by the Syrian civil war. Her family eventually found refuge in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2016.

Hala graduated with honours and earned a BA in Communication and Information Studies from the American University in Dubai, specializing in Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies, which earned her internships at UNHCR and Bloomberg News.

In 2021, Hala finalised the UNHCR Journalism Mentorship Programme for Refugees, acquiring essential journalistic skills and networking with professionals. This paved the way for her to become an assistant producer and reporter at Asharq Business with Bloomberg, where she has worked for the past two years.

Hala is currently pursuing a Master's in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford on a full scholarship. Beyond academia, she moderates and speaks at summits advocating for sustainable solutions for refugee youth.

About Hala



Ayuen Isaac

Every day, I am reminded of the transformative power of education. It is the key to unlocking the unique potential within individuals, fostering resilience and shaping societies for a brighter future.

Ayuen is a third-year Sustainable Development student at XIM University. His academic career has been driven by his strong belief that education serves as a catalyst for transformation, as it can unlock the hidden potential of both individuals and societies.

As an education enthusiast, Ayuen serves as a member of the Student Engagement Task Force (SETF) within the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium, collaborating with a diverse community of university students and alumni to address critical issues surrounding tertiary education for refugees and displaced individuals, exemplifying his commitment to inclusivity. Currently, he is a Learning Facilitator at Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) where he continues to champion the transformative potential of education.

Beyond academia, he has honed his skills in filming and social media management.

About Ayuen



Mireille Kayeye

Mireille Kayeye

I’m very passionate about women’s empowerment and I am on a mission to build a world free of violence for refugee women and girls.

Mireille (Mimi) Kayeye is a Burundian refugee PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She fled Burundi twice, once to Tanzania as a child and later to Australia, as an adult. Her research investigates empowerment strategies for women impacted by forced displacement in Australia.

Mimi enjoys writing about forced migration and gender. Some of her recent work includes an opinion piece for Harper’s Bazaar on World Refugee Day, an article on women’s empowerment published with UNHCR for International Women’s Day and a media article on how Africans create new homes after resettlement in Australia.

She is also engaged as a Steering Committee Member of the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG) and supports newly arrived refugees in Australia through the Jesuit Social Services.

About Mireille



Shalom Ishimwe

The challenges of broken systems fuel our determination to innovate. I am committed to building systems that embody resilience, transformative change, and the gentle touch of kindness.

Shalom is a dedicated leader at the Rendezvous Youth Group (refugee youth-led organization) in Kampala, Uganda, where he has served as the Chairperson for over five years. His visionary leadership aims to empower young refugees, turning them into self-reliant members of society. Using innovative multimedia tools, Shalom sheds light on the challenges faced by young refugees, fostering understanding in the broader community. As a certified peer counselor, he provides a safe space at Rendezvous Youth Group for young people to explore their potential.

Beyond Rendezvous Youth Group, Shalom is also a Journalism and Communications student at Makerere University. He currently works as the Project Manager of JobTech for Refugees at the African Youth Action Network (AYAN) and is a fellow under the Amahoro Fellowship.

About Shalom


Jackson Byiringiro

Jackson Byiringiro

For refugees, security is just the beginning, true empowerment lies in providing inclusive opportunities for education, community integration and economic participation.

Jackson Byiringiro, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, became a refugee in Rwanda in 2012. He plays a vital role in refugee education as a Refugee College Guidance Counselor Administrator at Kepler and as a manager of the Article 26 Backpack project, a collaborative effort with the University of California Davis.

Jackson’s academic journey includes a Bachelor of Arts in Management, with a concentration on Logistics and Operations from Southern New Hampshire University, and he is currently pursuing an MBA in Project Management. Advocating a holistic refugee support model, Jackson emphasizes security, education, community, integration and economic independence. He believes that these facets empower refugees toward self-reliance and the pursuit of fulfilling lives.

About Jackson


Nyanen Malik

Nyanen Malik

I believe that every story matters and all refugees should look for a way to step free from all the obstacles and destructions in order for them to build a better life. Being a refugee is only but a status. Step free and build your life!

Nyanen Malik Juch is a South Sudanese refugee living in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. She arrived there with her mother in August 2001, at the age of 5. Originally from Jonglei, South Sudan, Malik is the firstborn child in a family of five children and has lived in the camp for 22 years. Her father was a soldier who remained in South Sudan.

Malik completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Management, majoring in Operations and Logistics at Southern New Hampshire University, with online support from the Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) in Kakuma. She is now pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Sustainable Development at Xavier University. She holds a Diploma in Liberal Studies from Regis University, USA, through online learning and a Certificate in Information Technology from Don Bosco Technical Training Centre in Kakuma camp. She attended her primary and secondary school in Kakuma.

Malik is a member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. She is the manager of Story Matters Entertainment and co-founder of Refugee Teen Talk. She has also been an interpreter and translator for UNHCR Kakuma, a secondary school teacher and a mentor for secondary school students. Malik is passionate about new technology, climate change, girl child education and humanitarian work.

About Nyanen


Jean Marie Ishimwe

Jean Marie Ishimwe

 Refugees have aspirations, dreams and should be given a central role in driving solutions to address the challenges they face, they should be heard and should be given the agency to lead.

Jean Marie’s journey is deeply rooted in his own experiences as a Rwandan refugee in Kenya. Having faced numerous challenges in his early education, including a language barrier, struggling to afford school fees, and lacking refugee identity documents, he understands firsthand the hardships endured by refugees and their families, especially with regard to the lack of identity documents.

After receiving refugee status in 2019, he was able to secure a DAFI scholarship for refugee students. He also received support from the Xavier Project, which covered his school fees and allowed him to become an Educational Trainer, providing computer and business skills to other young refugees.

He is a finalist scholar pursuing a Journalism and Media Studies degree at the University of Nairobi. He has been the Partnership Lead for Youth Voices Community (YVC) since 2019. In this role, he promotes the socio-economic inclusion and self-reliance of refugees in Kenya. He also advocates for inclusive policies that favour refugee economic inclusion through The Future With Wakimbizi Campaign.

As the East Africa Regional Lead for Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT), he is responsible for promoting meaningful refugee participation and refugee leadership at the state level in the East Africa Region.

About Jean Marie




Sadiki Bamperineza

Sadiki, a Congolese refugee, moved to Rwanda with his parents at the age of four, embarking on a remarkable educational journey within the confines of the Kiziba refugee camp in western Rwanda. While a student there, he played a pivotal role in the founding of 'Kiziba High School,' introducing upper secondary educationtable to the camp.

After serving as a teacher in Kiziba for three years, Sadiki earned admission to Kepler, a program that empowers talented students to earn online degrees from Southern New Hampshire University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, specializing in Business.

Sadiki enriched his experience with an internship at SafeMotos, a startup taxi service company in Kigali, where he developed a digital platform for driver training, and a year-long fellowship with WISE Learning's Voice Program, funded by the Qatar Foundation, delving into education in the context of forced migration and refugee situations. He later returned to Kiziba camp, embarking on a technology-driven project aimed at fostering self-reliance among fellow refugees.

His ongoing research focuses on the causes of unemployment in Kiziba, with a vision of establishing a robust educational model that enhances the competitiveness of refugees in the local labour market.

About Sadiki



Mulki Mohamed

In every story, there’s resilience waiting to be heard. Through filmmaking, we weave narratives that bridge understanding and inspire change.

Mulki Mohamed, a resilient soul originally from Somalia, has been residing in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, since becoming a refugee in 2007. As a co-founder of Photofilm for Change, she has over two years of experience in filmmaking, specializing in sound and editing. Additionally, she collaborated with anthropologist Laura Kunreuther on ethnographic research in the camp, delving into the lives of interpreters.

In her role as a research fellow for the Open Society University Network, Mulki contributed to the creation of ‘The Bridge,’ a research-based film where she served as a sound engineer and primary editor. Simultaneously, she imparts knowledge as a Learning Facilitator at OSUN. Mulki is also a member of the steering committee for the recently initiated OSUN Students Voices for Refugees, amplifying the voices of those often unheard.

Mulki holds a certificate in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakuma camps. Her journey intertwines resilience, storytelling, and a commitment to amplifying voices within the refugee community.

About Mulki


Hala Haj Taleb

George Tarr

There's no experience in the past that isn't useful in the future. At Refugee Congress, we firmly believe no one knows your story better than you. As a former refugee from Liberia and now a Job Developer at Catholic Charities Community Services, I am using my experience to inspire and empower other refugees who have faced similar challenges to rise and thrive again.

George Tarr is a Refugee Congress Honorary Delegate for New York and co-chair of the Refugee Congress Youth and Education Caucus. He and his family were forced to flee Liberia in 1998 during the brutal civil war. They were at risk of being targeted because of his grandfather’s work as a government official. He was resettled to Staten Island, New York, in 1999.

George is passionate about helping others who are facing overwhelming challenges. He works as a Job Developer at Catholic Charities Community Services, an organization that serves people of all religions. Previously, he served as the Deputy Director at African Refuge, a neighbourhood nonprofit organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth. He has been instrumental in designing programs that unite the community, including a housing program, a health education program, and a drop-in centre for teens. George has also served as a peer counsellor at the International Rescue Committee, mentoring newly arrived refugee students. He has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Brooklyn College.

About George



Santos Madhieu Mawien

I believe that refugees have great abilities in different capacities that can contribute to making this world even greater, but only after supporting them to reach their full potential.

Santos Madhieu Mawien, originally from South Sudan, currently lives in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing the civil war in his country.  The war separated him from his parents, and he later arrived at Kakuma camp as an unaccompanied minor.

Santos is the assistant station manager of the radio station for/by refugees and host communities, REF FM KK, the first of a series of radio stations airing in refugee camps in several other African countries.

He is passionate about telling refugee stories, advocating for refugees’ issues, and for giving refugees equal access to the decision-making table. Santos strongly believes that “Anything about refugees without refugees is just against refugees”. They should have meaningful participation and involvement in every sector, especially in leadership.

Santos holds a Diploma in Social Work from Regis University in the US under the scholarship of Jesuit Worldwide Learning. He also graduated with a Certificate in Media and Filmmaking at the Africa Digital Media Institute ADMI in Nairobi. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Development through long-distance learning at Xavier University in India.

About Santos



Faridah Luanda 

I believe the change starts with ME!

Faridah Luanda, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a resilient and dedicated refugee youth leader and activist. After the tragic loss of her husband, Faridah sought refuge in the Kyaka II settlement in Uganda, where she founded the Da Vision Refugee Group. The group harnesses the power of music and dance to engage youth, promoting community involvement, girls' education, sexual and reproductive health, and combating gender-based violence and child marriage.

Faridah also founded One Touch, a solar-powered music studio to support herself. She and her brother produced songs about pressing community issues. Simultaneously, she established and managed a vocational training program for girls at risk of child marriage and motherhood, teaching them valuable skills such as soap-making and sanitary pad production.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Faridah played a pivotal role in her community. Through the Da Vision Group, she translated and disseminated crucial public health messages. She and her team manufactured and distributed over 1,000 'tippy-taps' (handmade hand-washing stations) and provided 5,000 masks. Faridah also actively worked with families to address exacerbated issues like child marriage and gender-based violence.

Faridah's advocacy extends globally, as she is a former member of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council. Currently, she serves as the Gender and Diversity Coordinator of the Global Refugee Youth Network (GRYN). Her inspirational journey, marked by resilience and dedication, continues in her recent resettlement in Sweden.

About Faridah


Opira Bosco Okot

Growing up in an economically disadvantaged family and living in a refugee settlement throughout my youth has taught me the importance of faith, hope, and hard work in achieving what may appear to be impossible.

Before his current role as a Global Social Media Intern with UNHCR, Opira worked as Youth Advisory Committee Member, Learning Facilitator, and Aspire Leadership Ambassador and completed the YALI Leadership fellowship. After completing UNHCR’s refugee student leadership and advocacy training, Opira found motivation to put his advocacy skills to work. He organized various community awareness campaigns, formed youth groups, and initiated, together with his team, the foundation of a refugee-led organization in Uganda. His advocacy and journalism skills that he gained through the Journalism Mentorship Program enabled him to produce various videos and op-eds that supported advocacy for education and climate change interventions.

Opira is a talented, resourceful, and result-oriented young professional who aims to contribute to balancing the gaps that exist between programs and their implementations.

About Opira