South Sudanese refugee Mary Maker has been supporting UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency since 2018. After fleeing her war-torn country as a child, she found security and hope in attending school in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. She has since become a teacher of young refugees in her community, and sees education as an essential tool for rebuilding lives and empowering a generation of girls who are too often denied entrance into the classroom. Mary is currently pursuing further studies as part of a scholarship programme at university in the United States.
Mary has said: "For the child of war, an education can turn their tears of loss into a passion for peace".
In 2018, Mary gave an impassioned speech at TEDxKakumaCamp entitled ‘Why I fight for the education of refugee girls (like me)’. In collaboration with UNHCR she has gone on to advocate on behalf of refugees on multiple global platforms including Sky News and ABC News. Mary has spoken at international events including Global GoalsCast and the Girl Up Summit and supported the launch of UNHCR's annual Education Report.
She has featured in social media films and briefings outlining the importance of education, and highlighting, through her own personal story, the resilience, talents and ambitions of the forcibly displaced in playing an active role, in not only the response to the global refugee crisis, but also to the global coronavirus pandemic.