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Book Launch | Right Where We Belong

In the Dadaab refugee camp, education is out of reach for many children; only about half of whom are enrolled in school. For some students like the one featured in this video, getting to school is a challenge. It can take as long as an hour every day to reach school. Classrooms can be very hot and crowded, and the labs do not have enough equipment to do experiments. 

To address this gap in education, refugee communities are themselves stepping up to take the lead. Refugee teachers and students are shaping their own educational journeys by developing innovative ways to improve access to education in Dadaab. 

This World Teachers Day, WUSC is excited to host a virtual panel discussion with the author of Right Where We Belong: How Refugee Teachers and Students Are Changing the Future of Education, who will be joined by refugee teachers and students from Dadaab. 

Together, we will explore one of the central themes of the book: how refugee teachers and learners are changing the future of education to create better schooling and brighter futures for all young people. Drawing on more than 600 interviews in twenty-three countries, the book highlights initiatives that were developed and implemented by refugee educators and leaders to support learning. In Dadaab, teachers play an important role in working with parents to convince them to keep their children, particularly girls, in school. 

We will hear from refugee educators and learners who will share their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities related to access to education in their communities. We will also discuss important lessons from the groundbreaking work that refugee teachers and learners are undertaking to deliver inclusive education for all.

Through this discussion, we are working to raise awareness on the importance of agency of refugee educators and learners in their education journeys by amplifying the voices of those with lived experience of displacement. Their stories can help lead the way to better futures for refugee students and inspire us to reimagine education systems so that children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to thrive. 

Join us on October 5th, 2022 and be part of our discussion on the role of refugee teachers and students in transforming education to create brighter futures for all young people. Register for the event.

Meet the Speakers

Sarah Lajoie Flyng | Moderator Program Manager and Gender and Social Inclusion Advisor at WUSC

Sarah Lajoie Flyng is a gender and international development professional working as a Program Manager and Gender and Social Inclusion Advisor at WUSC. In her role, she is supporting several initiatives, including a project to promote learning for vulnerable girls affected by conflict in Mali. With an academic background in international development, African studies, and gender equality, she has previously worked at UNFPA, Oxfam, bilateral development agencies as well as other NGOs. Currently based in Burkina Faso, Sarah has 12 years of experience working, living, and studying in West Africa. Throughout her career, she has worked on gender justice, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, education, population dynamics, and more, with regional partners, national partners, local women’s rights organizations, and associations.

Sarah Dryden-Peterson | Associate Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University 

Sarah Dryden-Peterson leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies. In her field-based research globally, in her teaching, and in her role as founder and director of Refugee REACH, she examines what it would take for all children to access quality education, be part of welcoming communities, and contribute to building peaceful futures. Her research connects practice, policy, and scholarship and is strengthened through sustained collaborations with communities, NGOs, governments, and UN agencies, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries particularly those that are conflict-affected. Raised in Toronto, Canada, Dryden-Peterson taught primary and middle school in Madagascar, South Africa, and the United States.­ 

Gorad Muhumed | Student at the University of Guelph, Major in International Development and Minor Project Management

Born in eastern Ethiopia, but forced to flee to Kenya due to political unrest, Gorad grew up in the Dadaab refugee camp where he completed primary school before moving to Nairobi. Looking to give back to his community, he returned to Dadaab to volunteer as a tutor, helping high school students with English and Math. He also volunteered with UNHCR as an interpreter and for the Kenya Equity in Education Program (KEEP), which supports girls with remedial classes. Growing up, he was inspired by other young people in the refugee camp to pursue education opportunities and in 2018, he was accepted by the Student Refugee Program to begin his studies at the University of Guelph. Inspired to share his own experience, he joined his university’s Local Committee to help welcome new refugee students on campus. Continuing to follow his passion for education, Gorad recently completed an internship with World Education Services as a Project Manager Assistant.  

Suleika Abdi Ibrahim | Teacher, Hagadera Secondary School

Suleika Abdi Ibrahim is a teacher based in Hagadera, Dadaab. Born in Somalia, she has been living in Dadaab since 2010 where she completed both her primary and secondary education. Suleika has been working as a teacher since 2021, teaching Chemistry and Biology at Hagadera Secondary School. As a teacher, she is dedicated to drawing on her own experiences to support her students and set them up for success. Passionate about supporting access to education, she has played an important role in her community, conducting research and outreach to identify challenges and barriers to education for children in the community in order to contribute to program improvements and help find solutions to promote change. She also plays an active role in her community by advocating for better access to quality education and by guiding and encouraging young girls and boys to attend school. 

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