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UNHCR Welcomes Support For Refugee Education from NAMA Foundation

UNHCR Welcomes Support For Refugee Education from NAMA Foundation

23 December 2020
UNHCR Malaysia Representative, Thomas Albrecht (left) and Chief Executive Officer of NAMA Foundation, Dr. Saleh Bazead at a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur


Kuala Lumpur, 22 December 2020 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomes the pledge made by Malaysia-based international grant provider, NAMA Foundation, to empower refugee youths in Malaysia through education over a period of three years. The support will begin in 2021 with a commitment of EUR27,800 (approximately RM136,000) contribution for the year.

This was announced during the signing of the Pledge by NAMA Foundation, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, here today. 

“Half of the world’s refugee children are out of school. In Malaysia, where refugee children have no access to formal education, this number is even lower,” said Thomas Albrecht, UNHCR Representative in Malaysia. “Less than 40% of refugee children and youth of school-going age in Malaysia have access to any kind of educational programme in the country. Those who do, attend informal learning centres run by UNHCR’s NGO partners or by refugee communities themselves.”

The pledged support from NAMA Foundation will be channelled to more than 25 refugee learning centres under UNHCR providing secondary level education, and benefiting at least 1,600 refugee youths. The funding will ensure continuity of education with a particular focus on connected education, especially for refugee youths whose education has been disrupted by COVID-19. 

“Refugee learning centres are uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as limitations in resources and connectivity mean that the majority of learning centres are unable to efficiently transition to online learning for their students when schools are closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns,” said Albrecht. 

Targeted support to these refugee learning centres will ensure the provision of connectivity, and the availability of online learning tools, as well as materials for home-based learning that would be flexible to both learners and educators.

“The pandemic threatens to undo any progress made in education and other crucial advances in supporting refugee children and youths. After everything they have endured, we cannot rob them of their futures by denying them an education today,” added Albrecht.

Also present at the event today was NAMA Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Saleh Bazead, who said, “The main mission of NAMA Foundation is to bring hope to the needy, especially those who have never had the opportunity to access any form of education. We are committed to provide quality and inclusive education to those who are left behind.”

Albrecht expressed his gratitude for NAMA Foundation’s support in ensuring that refugee students are kept on track in education.

“UNHCR is deeply grateful for the solidarity that has been shown by our partners during this very challenging time, and we are honoured to add NAMA Foundation to this list of supporters,” said Albrecht. 

“Despite the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic, with greater support to refugees and their host communities, we can expand the innovative ways to protect the critical gains made in refugee education over the past years.”