For the longest time, hundreds of thousand of refugees in Kenya have not been attending school due to lack of funds. As such the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) have partnered to launch a campaign during Ramadan calling on members of the public, including individuals, companies, and foundations to contribute funds to increase access to education for refugees in Kenya.

Currently, Kenya is host to more than 450,000 refugees, 77 percent of whom are women and children. The majority of refugee children living in Kenya’s Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps only have access to primary education. Less than one third of refugee school-age children are able to attend secondary school and only 13 per cent of refugee youth have access to tertiary education.

A funding shortfall for UNHCR’s education programmes has resulted in the lack of basic infrastructure and a shortage of qualified teaching personnel essential to provide quality education to refugee children and youth in Kenya. UNHCR and SUPKEM will be hosting an Iftar fundraising dinner for leaders from the Muslim community, business community, government representatives and members of the diplomatic corps.

Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya, had this to say, “These are distressing statistics revealing the disparagingly low number of refugees accessing education in Kenya. Behind these statistics are children and youth, boys and girls, aspiring to be teachers, doctors, business owners – but instead, they are sitting in limbo, waiting for a chance to fulfil their dreams.”

Yusuf A. Nzibo, SUPKEM Chairman, had this to say, “The holy month of Ramadan is a time where Muslims embark on a path of spiritual self- reflection and intensify our response to alleviate the suffering of others. Many refugees in Kenya have lived in forced displacement for over 20 years. With this campaign, we can help alleviate some of their suffering.”

The campaign will run during the entire month of Ramadan. To donate to the campaign, click here.