Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Refugee Students Graduate with Degrees in Communications, Sociology, Health & Development

Posted in Education by KANERE on December 22, 2009

Amid hardship, refugees demonstrate the ability to achieve their goals in higher education. A graduation ceremony recently honored distance-learning students of UNISA and KISWCD with both diploma and degree certificates.

  On the 24 of October, 2009, the Kenyan Institute of Social Work and Community Development (KISWCD), in conjunction with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), held its second graduation ceremony in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Several graduates received a degree in communications and sociology, while others received a diploma certificate in community health and community development.

Humanitarian agency staff from KISWCD, JRS, Windle Trust Kenya (WTK), Film Aid International (FAI), and Don Bosco joined graduates and friends for the ceremony. The event kicked off at about 10:00 am with a word of prayer from the Father of Don Bosco. Welcoming speeches were followed by youth performing traditional songs and dances. All the cultural performances symbolized the importance of education for hope in life.

“Conditions are not favorable, but I can see there is also hope”

The event reached its climax as senior officials of the day were invited for their speeches. The WTK representative Mr. John Macheche welcomed the sponsorship initiative and expressed his support. “We are working closely with JRS in many programmes like World University Service of Canada (W.U.S.C), but the resources are limited and qualification is competitive. We are committed and we want to support education,” said Mr. Macheche.

The JRS Country Director Christine Mwaniki, who was the chief guest, was welcomed onto the stage with loud cheers from the audience. She had a remarkable speech and confirmed that JRS will continue to support sponsorship opportunities. “We are operating in Eastern Africa and our objective is to accompany, to serve and to advocate for your rights,” said Ms. Mwaniki.

According to Ms. Mwaniki’s speech, JRS Headquarters in Nairobi cater for urban refugees while other programs support refugees here in the camp. “We also offer psychosocial support and try to offer Canadian resettlement to people with physical disabilities, though these numbers are limited,” she said.

The KISWCD principal gave a powerful speech with a message that enriched the audience. The principal emphasized the hope of change for the ways of life and circumstances of refugees and migrants. “I have a good message to take back to Nairobi. The conditions are not favorable and there is pain, but I can also see there’s hope,” said Mr. Jackson Wachira in his speech.

The principal of KISWCD encouraged refugee youth to strive for academic success. He noted that the college continues to offer support for students through a more advanced system with the collaboration of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Daystar University.

Finally the KISWCD examination officer, Mr. Obala, was invited to present the awards. Graduates were joined by friends and family as the celebrations continued.

Graduates express joy and look to the future

Several graduates expressed joy and thanks to both the KISWCD and JRS for their support of learning opportunities even amid hardship.

KANERE spoke to A.D., a Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) 2008 candidate who scored an A- grade. His high performance earned him a sponsorship and he is currently attending WUSC classes in the camp, preparing for his move to Canada. He stated that he was happy about his sponsorship and wishes to study in the field of construction and architecture in the future.

“It’s so great. This is now an acknowledgement of achievement that will encourage those who are coming behind me to have hope to do the same. I also made friends whom I could not [otherwise] have met and I got an award,” said A.D.

KISWCD continues to serve refugees’ educational needs

JRS sponsored the graduation ceremony, and offers several forms of assistance to refugees and immigrants in collaboration with WTK. After completion of WUSC classes in Kakuma, the graduating students were sent to Nairobi for the test of English as Foreign Language Examination (TOEFL).

KISWCD’s inception in 1997 marked the beginning of the college’s activities in the areas of creation, learning, and research towards community development and finding solutions to the daily problems faced by camp residents. In Kakuma Refugee Camp, studies take place in the compound of JRS/UNISA (the distance learning center of the University of South Africa), located in Zone Five of Kakuma One.

When a KANERE journalist approached Ms. Mwaniki for comments on the occasion, she declined. “We have a mass information officer who is to speak to journalists; our protocol demands that I cannot do that,” she explained.

6 Responses

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  1. Ppierrot M said, on January 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Thia ia to congratulate brothers and sisters who are learning in the hardship such as the one i know(kakuma)
    Have hope the time is comming when you will not remember or live the same as you
    are living now
    have a nice time and happy new year.
    Don Pierrot.

  2. Atem Deng Mark said, on April 5, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Congratulation to graduates and the supporting teams involved in facilitating smooth running of activities in the campus.someone said during careers counseling organized by JRS that,”In an island of sorrow, there is an oasis to fetch clean water”.thus hardship is not a drawback but a booster of one hope as you have shown in your success.
    Atem Deng

  3. Bemihret Terefe said, on May 21, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Please help, i am a refugee from ethiopia . I have been 2 years in kakuma and i have BED (bach of education) from haramaya university in ethiopia. Now im looking 4 post graduat programme in media communication. if any organ to help me confirm me in my mail bemihret@yahoo.com, bravo KANERE!!

  4. Mohamed bashi said, on May 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi, i actually congrajulate all the graduates who have come up the success of this hard ships. The fruit of the success is as ”sweet as honey” but remember problems and hard life are apart of really life, and is shared by every body. For me iam a student of kenya istitute of social work and community development. Who has sponsored him self after recieving 30,000 ksh from one of the well wisher’s who adviced to create a small business, but i have decided to start a diploma course for logistic and supply managment. And know i have completed my first semester. But i can not go and start the second semester coz i don’t have the cost. But i urge every body in this camp, kakuma refugee to study as opportunity knocks once at every man’s door.

  5. Daud Abdi said, on October 29, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Hi! sisters and brothers of jrs members, I am very happy to say you hi. I am one the jrs staff members in kakuma kenya refugee camp, as mental health care assistant. But I don’t have any response and I need to get a good future, plz help me

  6. Birhanu said, on July 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I need to continue degre program on health or sociology.but i am student of bussenes and economics when i was in Ethiopia.

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