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Close to half of all refugee children – 48 percent – remain out of school. Without access to education, an entire generation's future is at risk.


Photo Credit:  © UNHCR / Eugene Sibomana

Every child deserves an education

Education is the ultimate tool of empowerment and is especially important for young people. This is particularly true for refugee youth. The returns on investment in refugee education are far-reaching. Quality education and a safe place to learn help refugee children prepare for the future and recover from the effects of trauma. Access to school reduces the chance of exploitative and dangerous child labor. It can also greatly reduce the risk of early child marriages for girls.

Unfortunately, average gross enrollment rate of refugee children at primary level stands at 68 percent, almost unchanged from the previous year. For secondary education, the rate is significantly lower at 37 percent. At pre-primary level, the enrollment rate was 42 percent. Refugee girls are even less likely to attend school and will only receive a few years of formal schooling. 

"I want to be the girl that made it from the camp to campus, and from a refugee to a neurosurgeon."

-Esther, a young refugee from South Sudan

Esther is working to beat the odds through education. Only six percent of refugee children achieve more than a high school education. She recognizes the long road ahead, but is resolute.


UNHCR prioritizes higher education for refugees and is committed to achieving 15 percent enrollment of young refugee women and men in higher education by the year 2030. The DAFI scholarship program is a core pillar of this initiative. In 2021, DAFI scholarships enrolled over 8,300 young refugees from 53 nationalities in 55 countries. This is an increase of nearly 1,000 students compared to the previous year. The program received a record number of applications in 2021, with more than 15,800 applicants, reflecting the growing demand for higher education scholarships and opportunities for refugees.

Other Programs

Help Refugee Families

War, violence and persecution have forced millions of families from their homes. They urgently need shelter, protection and safety. You can help rush critical supplies like medicine, clean water, food and tents to desperate children and families. You can provide refugees with emergency support, long-term care and hope for the future.

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