Jesuit Entity “facilitating access to education” in Malawian Refugee Camp


Emmanuel is co-founder & Executive Director at ATE-Hub, a refugee-led organisation based in the Dzaleka refugee camp. Credit: JRS

Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS), an international refugee entity of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), is facilitating the provision of formal education to refugees in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi.

In a Tuesday, April 18 report, JRS officials say that the entity is helping realize access to formal education among refugees in the Malawian camp in partnership with other actors through various initiatives, ranging “from large-scale online learning degree programs to the provision of scholarships to enable refugees to pursue their academic studies.”

The JRS officials say that they have partnered with Southern New Hampshire University in the U.S. to provide Bachelor of Arts programs in education to refugee students at the camp.

“Before starting university, we offer the students a basic programme to learn English academic writing skills, technical skills, soft skills and increase the self-confidence of the learner,” the officials of the Jesuit entity say.

They explain, “We run the programme for three months and when the students are ready, we start enrolling them at the university to start the degree course.”

A beneficiary of the JRS education program, Mr. Emmanuel (not real name), explains some of the challenges refugee students experience and the opportunities at their disposal following the education programs.

“Young people living in the refugee camp often struggle to access these (education) opportunities,” Mr. Emmanuel says, adding that refugees “don’t have tech skills and a high level of English; they lack some basic skills to enter various degree programmes offered.”

The native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues, “Personally, education introduced me to special opportunities. First, I attended the JRS programmes such as English, computer skills, and from there I applied for a bachelor’s degree in business management through an online learning programme.”

Mr. Emmanuel further says he sought ways to support other young refugees in the camp and provide them "with the information and confidence to pursue their post-secondary studies” as soon as he graduated.

The zeal to help other refugees access educational opportunities compelled Mr. Emmanuel to co-found ATE-Hub, one of the entities working at the Malawian refugee camp.

“I always wanted to be an economist, but my other mission is to empower refugees by providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. I wanted to allow other young people like me to access the same opportunities as me,” Mr. Emmanuel says.

He goes on to express optimism that in the future, ATE-Hub will be able to help graduate refugee students to also access employment opportunities.

“So, from that understanding, ATE-Hub does not only measure its success on degree completion but also on placing its students in employment opportunities,” Mr. Emmanuel says.

To effectively help refugee students access formal education, Mr. Emmanuel says, “We call for the provision of more opportunities for refugee-led organizations like ATE-Hub so that we can collectively build the next generation of leaders in the Dzaleka community.”

Partnerships focusing on the provision of resources to refugees in the Malawian camp is necessary for it will contribute to the building of the “next generation of leaders”, Mr. Emmanuel says, adding that Dzaleka camp “should not just be seen as a mere refugee camp, but as a society of innovative, tech-savvy, creative, and empowered people”.

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In the April 18 report, JRS officials say ATE-Hub has motivated refugees in Dzaleka camp to “work together, providing academic support and implementing initiatives to help increase the students’ wellbeing and make them ready to start their degree course.”

Credit: ACI Africa

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