Narratives about the education of refugee children are typically bleak. The majority of these children — 11 million globally — live in countries with overstretched education systems, many residing in camps unable to meet their basic needs. In Kenya’s Dadaab, until recently the largest refugee camp in the world, only 2.3 percent of children enter secondary school, and barely a quarter of those students are girls. Most spend their entire childhoods displaced.
Despite these obstacles, some refugees succeed academically, completing secondary school and pursuing higher education. New research into those educational journeys shows that relationships, at times aided by technology, are a key difference-maker for refugee children, helping them to persist in the face of overwhelming challenges.
A Study Focusing on Assets
International aid had been instrumental to the growth of schooling in Dadaab, where hundreds of thousands residents have fled from conflict in Somalia. In the past two decades, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, and the many international organizations have funded and established 26 schools in the complex.