“When children and youth are deprived of their right to education, their community is deprived of a sustainable future. It is all the more true with refugees.”
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe. Each year, the day falls on June 20 and commemorates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy, understanding, and awareness regarding their plights and to recognize their resilience and courage in rebuilding better lives.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that the needs of refugees were met was already an issue. Refugee camps often do not have the necessary infrastructural needs including food, school, water, sanitation, and shelter. The coronavirus has only exacerbated these issues. The world today is facing several crises and the numbers of refugees continue to grow.
During GCE-US's Global Action Week for Education (GAWE), Nihal Deng from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya spoke about how his education has been impacted as a result of COVID-19, and what actions local and global leaders should take. Deng emphasized ensuring that refugees are not left behind and urged policymakers to put educational structures in place - such as proper technology for distance learning - to support learning during COVID-19. Deng is the Head of the Refugee Youth Peace Ambassadors, a consultant at Take Action Global, and a member of the Sky School’s Youth Advisory Group.
When looking at Kakuma Refugee Camp in particular, UNHCR has stated that education continues to be a top priority. How can you and others take action to ensure that no child is left behind in school?
- Advocate for an enabling environment that supports learning as well as psychosocial, socio-emotional and physical well-being.
- Urge adoption of an area-based approach, supporting both refugees and asylum-seekers, and the communities that host them to access accredited education and training.
- Promote opportunities for learning and for the use of education toward jobs, economic inclusion, community development, and self-reliance, benefitting both refugees, asylum-seekers, and their host communities.
- Raise awareness about refugees and research ways in which you can help, including by making donations.
Together, let’s ensure education for all and advocate for refugees and internally displaced persons everywhere.
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Shruti Nallappa graduated with a degree in Global Affairs, a minor in Korean Studies, and dual concentrations in Global Governance and Human Security from George Mason University in December 2019. At the Global Campaign for Education - US (GCE-US), she is the Senior Fellow, where she assists with many of the organization's needs including social media presence, communications, engagement, public policy, and advocacy work. As a Senior Fellow, she hopes to gain knowledge about improving education at both an international and domestic level and the steps necessary in order to implement quality education policies. Shruti previously served as an intern for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) in Washington, D.C. where she worked closely with the Legislative Director and Foreign Affairs staff. She has also studied at George Mason University Korea and the University of Oxford in England where she obtained a certificate in history, politics, and society. Shruti is now pursuing her graduate studies at The George Washington University where she will be obtaining an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Africa region and humanitarian assistance.