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Classrooms without “walls” in Tanzania


Classrooms without “walls” in Tanzania

In Nduta refugee camp, a shortage of funds sees some school classes held under trees.

23 January 2018 Also available in:


Primary school student Irahoze Diello is from Burundi and he now attends outdoor classes at Tanzania Nduta refugee camp, with benches and blackboards dotted among trees. Even without books, shoes, a safe place to study or a morning meal, he is quietly confident about today’s maths test because he has worked hard to prepare for this moment. He just hopes the rain will hold off long enough for him to complete it.

He is one of about 200 refugee children who attend Furaha Primary School, where a lack of funding means classes are held in the open air. Benches and blackboards are dotted among the trees, creating makeshift classrooms. When it’s windy, the branches fall and when the sun is too strong, they have to stop classes.

Bad weather can bring classes to a halt altogether

When it rains, everything gets wet

Sometimes, when branches fall, students are injured


4 in 10 refugee children cannot go to school

The challenges faced by students in Nduta and Nyarugusu camps are unfortunately all too common for child refugees worldwide. While globally, 91% of children attend primary school, for refugees, that figure is far lower at only 61%, according to a recent UNHCR report Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis. As refugee children get older, the obstacles only increase.

UNHCR continues to work towards inclusion of refugee education into the national education system in recognition that the national system provides access to accredited, supervised and accountable education services. At the same time, UNHCR’s Tanzania operation for resettlement continues to seek more cost-effective alternatives for classroom construction to address the acute shortage.

Crowded classrooms weaken access to equitable quality education in the refugee camps. UNHCR needs your support to help children get back to school.


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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.