Helping Refugee Girls Succeed

WUSC is excited to announce continued funding to help refugee girls’ education in the camps. With support from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) WUSC is increasing the educational attainment of girls and underserved populations in and around the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya.

This project aims to:

  • Improve retention and performance of 960 girls at primary school in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya
  • Increase support of parents and community for girls’ education in refugee camps and surrounding communities in Kenya
  • Improve quality of education available to students in host (non-refugee) communities
  • Equip girls with the leadership and life skills necessary to contribute to their communities

Helping girls succeed

Since 1978, WUSC has provided post-secondary educational opportunities for refugees in Canada through the Student Refugee Program. Despite attempts to provide equal opportunities to female refugees, less than one third of applicants are girls. In 2007, WUSC fielded a mission to Dadaab and Kakuma that undertook an assessment of girls’ achievement and participation in schools, identifying several key issues:

  • Girls are responsible for most domestic work. As household survival depends on girls’ domestic work, it is given priority over attending school. Domestic work also limits girls’ time for studying at home or attending extra classes.
  • Poverty often forces girls to supplement household income by taking on jobs or staying at home to enable other family members to work.
  • Early marriage: Upon reaching puberty many girls are removed from school for protection reasons while awaiting marriage. Alternatively, if married at an early age, they drop out of school to take on the burden of domestic work.
  • The practice of female circumcision triggers health problems and more absences from school.
  • Limited access to sanitary napkins and lack of privacy in schools mean that some girls miss several days of school every month during menstruation.
  • Shyness and minority status in the class give girls less confidence to ask questions to understand their schoolwork.

In 2009, WUSC and partner Windle Trust Kenya piloted a girls’ education project in the Dadaab Refugee camp to address the educational needs of girls by providing them with remedial training while mobilizing the community to support girls’ education and develop an improved understanding of gender issues.

Our past in-camp projects have shown that by working with girls directly and mobilizing the community to support girls’ education and eliminate the barriers they face, girls can dramatically improve their performance and are more likely to pursue higher education.

What can you do?

Donate to our Shine a Light campaign, which helps provide refugee girls with the knowledge and tools they need to stay in school and pursue their dreams.

Donate to the Student Refugee Program.

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