By Pearl Joslyn, UNA-USA Campus Fellow, Northeast RegionRead more
We all think and make meaning of our lives through storytelling. Stories help us connect to different worlds, lands, and people. They open our eyes to completely different lives and perspectives, and even if just for a moment, they can take us to those places. The power of a story is in its ability to educate, and evoke empathy and compassion. The power of four stories is only amplified in impact.
The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) sought to harness the power of storytelling to raise awareness about refugee education. We designed an interactive educational activity that enables participants to get a glimpse at the life of a child refugee in Dadaab or Kakuma, two refugee camps in Kenya and two of the largest camps in the world. The activity consists of a series of color-coded cards, which follow the lives of four children through their journeys to and experiences in the refugee camps. Each series consists of four cards: the first offers information on a child refugee; the second teaches us about the circumstances of the refugee crisis from each child’s home village; the third details the grueling journeys that each child makes with their families to the refugee camps; and the fourth explains the education initiatives available in Dadaab and Kakuma, and UNHCR’s role in expanding them. By engaging with the stories written on these cards, you’ll glimpse into only a chapter in the lives of these brave children, but we hope they will compel you to do your part in ensuring they all have happy endings.
It may or may not come as a surprise that we are witnessing the world’s largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. More than 65.3 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide. To add to these daunting statistics, half of the world’s refugees are children, and very few of them have access to education. A quality education can be a great enabler, allowing refugee children a chance to adapt to their new surroundings in a safe and stable environment.
This is why UNA-USA partnered with USA for UNHCR to launch the “Adopt-a-Future” campaign for refugee education. The voices and needs of child refugees can, and often do, get lost in the effort to mitigate this global crisis. We should be raising awareness about the lack of and inaccessibility of quality education in refugee camps. Communities that participate in Adopt-a-Future can fundraise to support refugee education worldwide or to build a classroom for a specific refugee serving school. In 2017, Adopt-a-Future is supporting schools in two UNHCR camps in Kenya, Dadaab and Kakuma.
The best way to raise awareness about the scarcity of refugee education is through education. We invite you to use this activity to help raise awareness about refugee education and the global refugee crisis in your community. Please feel free to adapt this activity in whatever way will be most impactful for its intended recipients. We encourage you to get involved with Adopt-a-Future through fundraising events or campaigns, and we thank you for being champions and advocates for refugee rights.
Click here to access UNA-USA’s refugee education activity cards.