Tinalbarka, 16 year old: “I am 16 years old. I come from Mali. My family and I fled Bamako because of war. So we arrived here [in Mbera, Mauritania], where I now live with my parents. Fortunately, here I had the opportunity to study as there are schools in the camp. I enrolled in school and I am now attending class nine. What I wish for my future is to successfully complete my studies so that I can get a degree and have a chance to find a job.”

“I dream of becoming a lawyer because I wish to help innocent people who are prosecuted for crimes that they have not committed.”

Sixteen-year-old Tinalbarka has become a school ‘champion’ and a role model among her peers at Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania. She belongs to the Tuareg nomadic tribe from northern Mali. Despite peace agreements signed in 2015, the situation in northern Mali remains volatile. Following ethnic clashes, her family had to flee their home once again.

Illiteracy is still widespread among the nomadic population of the camp, especially girls. UNHCR is working to sensitize families about the importance of sending their children to school, as well as providing literacy and numeracy courses for adults. Following the recent “Education for All” and “Girls inclusion” campaigns, the percentage of girls enrolled in the six primary schools at the camp is now almost equal to that of boys.

As part of camp’s education campaigns, Tinalbarka performed a sketch about a girl who is determined to go to school against her parents will. Unlike her sketch, her father, the well known musician Amano Ag Issa, supports her dreams of one day becoming a lawyer. To support Tinalbarka and female education, Amano and his traditional Tuareg music group, Tadiazt, will hold a concert in Nouakchott on World Refugee Day 2016 to promote girls education.

Written by Helena Pes

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