Dadaab Refugees Graduation Ceremony

Our names are HaEun and Hawa and we are former Teaching Assistants for the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project at York University. For the past two years, we have been teaching and supporting refugee students in Dadaab, Kenya-- one the of largest refugee encampments in the world.

The camps in Dadaab were established in 1992 along the Kenyan-Somali border to host 90,000 refugees fleeing civil war. While intended to be a temporary space, the camps have now been in existence for over 25 years to 3 generations of refugees now numbering just under 300,000. The Kenyan government does not allow refugees to move from the camps nor to work. There are thus hundreds of thousands of refugees confined in Dadaab with little to no means of improving their livelihoods.

The BHER Project is a education and development project, aiming to improve the livelihoods of refugees by facilitating access post-secondary education. Most of our students are untrained teachers and first completed a Certificate in Teaching from York University. After completing their certificate, they enrolled into a degree program in Geography Studies.

Our students have been pursuing their certificates and degrees in precarious and often unpredictable situations. There have been security incidents, political instability, floodings, as well as restricted resources and limited contact with instructors during their study periods. In spite of the variant challenges, our students have continued to push and at the end of this semester, the first cohort of students will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from York University. It really is a momentous achievement-- one we feel that our students deserve recognition and celebration for. The BHER Project is currently at the end of its funding cycle and there are limited resources available for a graduation ceremony. As former Teaching Assistants who worked closely with the students and have seen the work they put into their studies, we want to provide them with a graduation experience they worked hard for and deserve.

We are looking to crowdsource funds for a graduation ceremony which would take place in late April 2018. HaEun will be responsible for all withdrawals and delivery of the funds. In mid-April, the money will be withdrawn and used to incur the costs of the following:

1. Venue cost and decorations
2. Food for reception
3. Student and family transportation
4. Graduation regalia
5. Small graduation gift (USB, pins)

Any funds remaining will go to the BHER Project and the next cohort of students who will be completing their studies. If you are willing to support our students and their graduation ceremony, please donate! If you have any questions about the project or the fundraiser, do not hesitate to contact us ([email redacted])

Thank you for your support!

For those who are curious, here is a video of some of our students. It is a video we made after our first 5-week term in Dadaab.

Donations (32)

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  • Michele Millard
    • $170 
    • 6 yrs
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HaEun Kim
North York, ON

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