“Education can provide stability, normalcy and hope in a child’s day to day life during a crisis situation which can last for months and years.”
(Global Partnership for Education)
Often when we think of refugee camps it is in the context of what can we do to help. It’s the helicopter image of swooping in and fixing it all because somehow that’s what we think is best. There is no doubt that support is vital, but it is important to remember that within these camps inspirational individuals are at work already providing educational opportunities for the young children where national systems have failed to do so. These teachers also have the benefit of speaking the languages, understanding ethnic tensions and having first hand knowledge of the trauma suffered. We must ensure that the talent and skills within the communities are utilised which is in itself a rewarding and purposeful pursuit.
One of the key aims of the UNHCR Strategy 2012-2016 is the
“Rapid identification of teachers within the refugee population for additional training in participatory pedagogies, curriculum content, formative assessment, psychosocial support and peace-building. This should include identification among the existing caseload, as well as among new arrivals, preferably at the registration stage.”
Alnur Burtel fled from conflict in Sudan, in fear of his life and is now teaching high school English and Peace Education at Sherkole refugee camp in Ethiopia. Some of his former students also teach English to younger children. He has led by example and is an inspiration to his students.
“Education is instrumental for life and development.”
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