Botswana, higher education opportunities to refugee students

Temporary refugee shelters in a refugee camp Temporary refugee shelters in a refugee camp © Photo by Giro 555 SHO on Albumarium

In Focus by Giulia Francescon; Editor Shrabya Ghimire

Linda, 22, and Xolie, 19, being a refugee, know it very well. They are some of the lucky refugee students to get scholarship opportunities to continue their higher education. In 2008 Xolie fled social turmoil in Zimbabwe with her mother and sister while Linda left Burundi for South Africa with her mother in 1998 to again escape to Botswana 10 years later. “It’s hard being a kid in a refugee camp,” affirms Xolile. However, she is lucky as some of her friends have been resettled to a third country, or are back in Zimbabwe. “Life feels more secure than it did before coming to university… we can make plans for the future,” says Linda.

Many refugees in Botswana excel in their studies. Unfortunately, their options after secondary school are limited as the Botswana government only offers full or partial scholarships to their own students and not to the refugees. So the refugees have to go back to their camps where the job opportunities are limited.

Similarly, like many other nations, Botswana is also suffering from COVID 19 pandemic and as happens in difficult times, the females are paying a higher price for it. They are in danger of being forced to get married early or go into child labour to alleviate the poor economic situation of their families.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Skillshare are working together to provide scholarship opportunities for high-performing refugee students. These international organizations are partnering with higher education institutions and private sectors in Botswana to offer such opportunities. This progress is a recent achievement and is expected to multiply in the years to come.

 

To learn more, please read

https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2021/6/60b7abab4/hope-opportunity-refugee-students-botswana.html 

 

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