More than half of the world’s refugees are under the age of 18. Without access to education, an entire generation's future is at risk.
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, it is estimated that half of the 7.1 million refugee children of school-age do not attend school. 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 three percent of refugee children achieve more than a high school education. She recognizes the long road ahead, but is resolute.
In 2018, with USA for UNHCR donor support, UNHCR helped over 250,000 refugee children across a dozen countries enroll in primary school. Another 42,000 refugees participated in accelerated learning programs.
UNHCR also helps refugees go to college. More than 4,000 refugee students received an Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative scholarship (DAFI) to study at universities in 38 countries. An additional 1,500 refugee students enrolled in “connected learning” programs that combine face-to-face learning with online classes.