Over 530 refugee students have benefited from the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative, known as DAFI scholarship since it started in 1992.
Twenty-three year old Bahati Ernestine Hategekimana arrived in Kenya in 1996 as a refugee from Rwanda. She was just two years old.
Bahati is now proudly in the fourth year of her university degree. She’s studying for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Bahati is one of refugee beneficiaries of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative, known as DAFI, educational scholarship.
“Every year, my team gets a taste of what life is like as a refugee.”
She is not only a student, but also one of the team leaders for the Beyond Sciences Initiative (BSI), Moi University Kenya chapter whose main objective is to mentor and empower secondary school students.
Passionate about giving back to the community and to make a positive impact to people in need, she led a group of 10 non-refugee medical students in visiting two (2) schools in Kakuma refugee camp in 2017.
“Every year, my team gets a taste of what life is like as a refugee, the hurdles these young ones have to go through just to fight for a normal life”, says Bahati. They also see older people try to go back to school just because they know the value of education,” she adds.
“University education has empowered me.”
Bahati completed her primary school education at St Kizito, a refugee sponsored school in Nairobi. Due to her good grades, she got an education scholarship to attend Riruta Central in Nairobi where she completed secondary school.
On what drives her to be part of the community initiative that targets refugee youth, she says, “University education has empowered me and I would like other refugees to have the same opportunities for higher education. I encourage refugees to work hard, it’s the only way they can be empowered to be self-reliant,” she adds.
Bahati is among 530 refugee students that have so far benefitted from the DAFI scholarship since it started in 1992.
“I would like other refugees to have the same opportunities for higher education.”
Each year DAFI gives out university scholarships to at least 100 refugee students. But it’s still a drop in the ocean of what’s needed. For all 650 refugees eligible for university study, there are only ever places for around 100.
According to UNHCR’s report “Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis” only one in every 100 refugee students makes it to tertiary education. Globally 36% percent of people eligible for University have access to it, compared to 1% of refugees.