Closing the gap between learning and earning

This is the excerpt of our interview with Enock Mambili, Senior Education O­fficer, UNHCR Ethiopia.

DAFI scholarship students attend Bugema University – a private university committed to supporting refugees through higher education.

Q: Why are you so passionate about refugee education?

A: Education is the foundation we all need to make our lives better and to support our communities. It’s a crucial opportunity, especially for this displaced population. Education gives children and young people knowledge that can never be taken away from them and gives them the opportunity they need to unleash their potential.

Q: What are the key challenges that prevent young refugees from accessing education?

A: The main one is lack of opportunity. But young people also need guidance and encouragement. Education requires e­ ort, so they need a roadmap, someone to talk to them and show them how learning can help them change their lives. Some students have health challenges, or face language or cultural barriers. Others may have lost their certifi cates when they were displaced or have parents who have to move frequently just to earn a living. The challenges keep on mounting.

Q: How does the DAFI scholarship programme help overcome those challenges?

A: The DAFI scholarship programme not only pays tuition fee and other allowances, but also has a lot of mentorship programmes that support students and help them navigate their way. It’s not just about ensuring that the students are able to meet their needs. It’s also a matter of giving them hope and support at every step so they can successfully pursue their dreams.

Q: Why are donations from UNHCR supporters so vital?

A: If you can help add even one refugee to the programme you change a life of that person – and the lives of the generations that follow them. You’ll provide someone with the foundation they need to create a livelihood, support a family of their own, and make life better for others in their community.