Refugee College Guidance Counselor Event in RwandaRwanda
Kepler - CLCC MemberAuthor: Kepler - CLCC Member
The College Board, in collaboration with Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM), the
Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium, and Kepler convened a group of 45 participants in Rwanda to address the problem that less than 3% of refugees have access to higher education.
Refugee College Counselors based in Rwanda organized this event in mid-November 2019. It was an opportunity for refugee students to connect with one another and partners working in education and open a discussion on how both stakeholders can take part in expanding higher education for refugees.
A group of 23 refugee students and graduates from SNHU GEM sites, DAFI, and MasterCard Foundation traveled from different regions: South Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Middle East. This group of refugee students and graduates were
joined by experts from several organizations throughout the week, including admissions leaders, counselors, education program
representatives, and universities.
The event and the College Board grant is uniquely structured within the humanitarian setting, given its goal of enabling and
empowering refugees to lead in solving the issue of access to higher education, rather than the usual practice of leaders sourced outside of refugee communities.
During the event, participants were able to revise and contextualize the refugee college guidance counselor universal resource, observe preparations programs – Iteme/ “Bridge” for refugees and other individuals that might not have access to higher education, and observe classes on Kepler’s campuses in Kigali and Kiziba refugee camp, which award students Bachelor’s degrees
from SNHU. Participants also learned about access to higher education for refugees at the University of Rwanda, and other tertiary programs. Learning from site visits and drawing on their own experiences as refugees enabled the participants to drive at the outcome of increasing access to higher education for refugees.
Moreover, the group was able to connect young refugee leaders, create a platform of collaboration among partners and students, understand the enablers and barriers that refugee students experience during their college journey, and share the work already accomplished in Rwanda and Kenya through the College Board grant.
“ The College Board Event was an opportunity to follow up on mechanisms and capacity strengthening of students and alumni to understand and act on their responsibilities with respect to come up with new ideas and reinforce existing initiatives on education programs according to different contexts. The event updated and adjusted my knowledge. The information sharing of challenges and good practices in different countries led me to think differently for the benefit of my community” BARTHELEMY DAFI SCHOLAR/ ZIMBABWE
To read other stories from the 2019 CLCC Yearbook, click here.