In this video by young creator Yasmein Abdelghany for the #MakeEducationWork campaign, Mariam, a young refugee details her journey to gain access to higher education.
Only 3% of refugees have access to higher education compared to the 37% global higher education access rate. Providing access to higher education for refugees can help lift them up from poverty; which is a significant issue for refugees, by providing them the opportunity to access skilled, well-paid positions in the labour market.
This story is about Mariam, a young refugee who is seeking access to higher education, she tells us how the lack of access to higher education affects youth refugees, and why it’s important, particularly for refugees to join higher education
Watch Mariam’s story below.
Plain text script below (check against delivery)
“It destroys our future and our chances in finding decent, well paid jobs”
Why does higher education matter in particular for refugees?
Barriers and opportunities for a young refugee seeking access to higher education
Across the world, only 3 percent of refugees have access to higher education.
Providing higher education for refugees can help lifting them up from poverty which is a significant issue for refugees, by providing them the opportunities to access skilled, well-paid positions in the labour market.
Mariam, a young Sudanese refugee in Egypt fled with her family from Sudan in 2012 due to conflicts and instability.
“Due to conflicts and problems in our country, we came to Egypt in 2012”
Mariam Mohammed, Sudanese refugee in Egypt
Egypt provides access to national health care services to all refugees, and grants access to public education to some nationalities including Sudanese.
This enables them to enroll in public primary and secondary schools, as well as state run universities on the same footing as local students, almost for free.
Yet, many refugees like Mariam, remain unable to cover even the normal tuitions and books expenses.
Q: What are the barriers that prevented you from enrolling in higher education last year?
Mariam: “Because of the circumstances we are going through and also my sister is studying at university, and the university tuitions are expensive”.
Q: In your opinion, how does the lack of access to higher education affect youth refugees?
Mariam: “It destroys our future and our chances in finding decent, well-paid jobs that enables us to earn our livehood ourselves”.
Q: Do you think it’s important, particularly for refugees to join higher education? If yes why?
Mariam: “Of course, it is very important, because it grants us the opportunity to acquire high skills. It also gives us the opportunity to apply for well-paid job opportunities and this improves our financial condition. It also provides us with the skills and awareness needed to realize the importance of peace and the reconstruction of our country of origin”.
Q: What’s your message to decision makers for increasing higher education access and durable solutions for refugee youth?
Mariam: “I hope that the assistance for refugees will increase in the matter of covering the costs of university to change our lives for the better and so that we can better build our future”.
Yasmein Abdelghany is an awards-winning young leader in Peace, Education and Sustainable Development.
She works with many regional and international organizations on achieving sustainable development goals. She was chosen by the Danish Ministry of foreign affairs and Copenhagen business school as a young Egyptian researcher with a proven track record in sustainability.
She is a speaker at United Nations International youth day, author at United Nations international conference and organizer and content creator at the World Youth Forum. She aims to help youth worldwide get a better education and future