By Hussein “Suud” Mohamud
Life in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya – the largest refugee camp in the world – was characterised by uncertainty. We had no access to free movement out of the camp and into other parts of the country. Access to education was a privilege.
Not every child goes to school because some parents do not know the importance of education. Some children are minors who, having lost their parents to the civil wars in their home countries, are living with distant relatives. Children from minority communities may not go to school, as they may experience discrimination and violence perpetrated by other children. Children with special needs don’t have access to education because of socio-economic and cultural factors.
In the early days during my primary schooling in Dadaab, the school was made up of sticks and mud. Classes were congested—every class had as many as 160 pupils. Students like me had no access to adequate school supplies and properly trained teachers. During the rains, we had no roof over our head. Despite all these challenges, we knew education was our only hope of escaping hopelessness and poverty.
Being educated in a very tough, rough, and challenging environment has taught me to seek life and opportunities at the slightest available chance. My educational background, experience, and identity have empowered me to share my voice. Without my basic education, I would not be who I am today.
I was lucky enough to be among the one percent of refugees who were resettled to countries like the United States of America. I am a beneficiary of the humanitarian efforts by individuals who made sacrifices. Therefore, I am moved to be a voice for millions of refugees all over the world, so that they can access education and have a brighter future.
World leaders have the responsibility and mandate to use their power and influence to change the lives of refugees by allocating adequate resources, establishing comprehensive policies, finding durable solutions, and championing for their rights. If world leaders do not take action, then they will have failed in their responsibilities. Without education for all refugee children and migrants, we could be losing an entire generation.