Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

UNHCR Processing Delays Refugee’s Study Abroad

Posted in Education, Humanitarian Services by KANERE on January 31, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 2 / January 2009


Mr. J.M., a Congolese refugee in Kakuma Camp, was awarded an extraordinary scholarship opportunity to pursue a two years master program in medicine at Lund University, Sweden. He was due to begin his programme of study on 12 January 2009. Unfortunately, Mr. J.M. is still present in Kakuma Camp due to UNHCR processing delays. 

KANERE interviewed Mr. J.M. about his situation. KANERE also tried to reach the concerned UNHCR official for comment, but he was too busy to schedule an appointment. 


KANERE: How did you receive information about your scholarship?

Mr. J.M.: “Through UNHCR Community Services Unit, I got the information about the scholarship opportunity from the European Union.”


KANERE: How did you serve your application?

Mr. J.M.: “I applied through the internet from the scholarship’s website (www.erasmusmundus10.net) on 23 July, 2008.”


KANERE: After applying, what happened?

Mr. J.M.: “I was replied back by the European Union to be accepted, and then transferred my application to Lund University for admission. I was also accepted there. Later on a letter of invitation and financial support was sent to me from Lund University on 14 October 2008. The letter stipulated that I have been accepted to travel to Sweden and should reach Lund University before 12 January 2009. It confirmed that my scholarship award was to be paid in 1,000 Euros per month, for a maximum period of 22 months, and included a return ticket to Kenya.”


KANERE: What next?

Mr. J.M.: “I was told that once I got the invitation letter, I had to go and meet with the Swedish Embassy. They sent me another letter to show to the Sweden High Commissioner to allow me to be granted a visa and therefore get my ticket from Lund University to travel to Sweden.”


KANERE: How far have you gone with the process of getting the Swedish Visa?

Mr. J.M.: “For me to get a visa, I need to have a passport or a CTD (Convention Travel Document). I filled the forms [for a CTD] from an official at UNHCR Protection Unit on 20 October 2008, and have been following up. However, the CTD processing was delayed due to a shortage of CTD booklets at Branch Office Nairobi. Since October I’ve been following up, [but] the UNHCR official always replies for to me to wait.”


KANERE: Now as the deadline has expired, what do you think?

Mr. J.M.: “It’s not yet late, still I can go.” (How?) “I will keep approaching UNHCR for them to release the CTD, which I continue doing even now.”


KANERE: Do you have something to add?

Mr. J.M.: “No, only to ask if you can intervene for me to push UNHCR to release the CTD and allow me to continue my education which is my right, I will surely appreciate. Thanks. This is a pure torture once more. It’s torture because my mind is very much disturbed and morally I’m confused. The right to education has been denied by UNHCR the way it was done to me in DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] when my rights were denied by my own government, which was primarily supposed to provide the full rights I was fighting for.”




7 Responses

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  1. abdinor aden isse said, on February 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    It was interesting to see your web.
    I’m one of students at Makerere University and for payment of the second semester having problem of tuition. So please how can I get opportunity getting admission abroad.
    I hope you to accept my request.

  2. IDDI NURU said, on March 30, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Infact, i urge u to keep trying going to the UN compound to find out. so J.M how do you feel since your plan is being delayed?
    Lots of talks held here in canada about how kakuma refugees get their way forward.
    its like schools closed to most young refugees.
    Now days we have infors about attacks. Why do you think it happen in the camp. the UNHCR have to think about it.

  3. sidali aabdi muse said, on October 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

    i wanna to take visa

  4. Emeka E. said, on December 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I will like to get more information on how to go about it all.


  5. Paul NDAISABA, MTABILA BURUNDIAN REFUGEE CAMP. said, on April 13, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I hope this programme of allowing student to study abroad in masters. I’d suggest to start the programme even in TANZANIA to BURUNDIAN CAMP. I remind you that children has the right to but no School in the Camp. Please listen this idea, we are HUMAN BEING as others. Even those of study are in needs.


  6. jirde muktar bashir said, on June 29, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Hi, i join this community of studets going to kakuma , i am refugee under UNHCR, nouth east ,kenya (dadaab camps) i was not told these proccese about studets who are given scholarships . i have primary and secondry school leaving certificates, since refugees are not given money to study in Kenyan universities, even the said scholarships are not granted to the needy but there sth hinden, where is transparency?

  7. mohmed said, on December 4, 2013 at 6:21 am

    I am refugees in Nairobi, are urban refugees less considered by resettlement process of UNHCR. Its better to come to Nairobi than waiting for what will never happen in Kakuma.

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