Congolese refugee Prince Nzamuwe makes the most of education opportunities offered by UNHCR with support from the Educate A Child Fund
Education is a basic right that restores dignity in children driven from their homes and it is UNHCR’s policy that every child have the right to a quality education.
A Congolese refugee, Prince Nzamuye, 17, lives with his grandmother in Mugombwa refugee camp - Southern Province/Rwanda ©UNHCR Rwanda/ Eugene Sibomana
Mugombwa refugee camp – Rwanda: The provision of educational opportunities is one of the highest priorities of refugee communities. Refugee mothers, fathers, and children the world over emphasise that education is “the key to the future,” that it will help bring peace to their countries, that despite not knowing “what will happen tomorrow,” education brings stability and hope.
Education is a basic right that restores dignity in children driven from their homes. It is also an indispensable tool for integration, which empowers people to participate fully in their community and its political, economic, social, and cultural life. It is UNHCR’s policy that every child have the right to a quality education.
Prince Nzamuwe, 17 years old, is a Congolese refugee child who arrived in Rwanda in 2014 with his grandmother only. With the help of UNHCR in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency [ADRA], Prince and other refugee children joined the primary school at G.S Mugombwa, where thanks to support from Educate a Child to UNHCR’s operation in Rwanda, they were integrated in the local community school. This is a key element of UNHCR’s education strategy in Rwanda supported by EAC: to do away with parallel structures in refugee camps by integrating refugee children into host community schools where refugees and local kids attend classes side by side.
With regular guidance from the school administration, ADRA staff and teachers, Prince and other refugee children are almost fully integrated. As a result they performed better in their courses as well as joining other school activities.
Prince, despite facing huge challenges as a refugee from the DRC, performed first in the Primary Leaving Examination out of all students in the entire Gisagara district. His performance on the exam is an inspiring one for the entire refugee community.
Prince’s grandmother is known for her eagerness in encouraging young people to attend school. She even used to bring neighbourhood children to school, borrow books from the school library for children and give advices and sensitization to people on the value and importance of education.
“When you see someone who’s very successful, you almost imagine that it was a foregone conclusion, that they’re a genius, that they were destined for great things,” said Rushigajiki Vumilia Marie – Prince’s grandmother.
Nzamuwe Prince says that his success is less a matter of innate talent and more the product of perseverance, a willingness to stumble and then stand up again.
After performing well in 2015, with a percentage above 90% in his courses, Prince was admitted to a “school of excellence.” In 2010, the Government of Rwanda set up these schools to ensure that educational quality continues to improve through closer integration of curriculum development, improved teaching and learning, and a system for monitoring of learning achievement at school and at the national level.
Nzamuwe Prince is by nature a quiet, well organised and behaved student. He is grateful that his family ensured his education. He is grateful that with support from EAC and UNHCR, he was able to excel in primary school which paved the way for his continuation in secondary school and the opportunities that will unfold when he graduates.