AVSI to build 4 new schools and 15 new education centers in Dadaab
Friday, 09 September 2011 00:00

A new school term began on Sept. 5 in the Dadaab camp, where AVSI’s long-term work continues in providing education, as well as a place of refuge, for the thousands of children who wander risking the harsh conditions and spreading disease in the overcrowded tent villages. Currently, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), enrollment rates in the three locations of the camp are only 42% for primary-aged children and 5% for secondary schools, and the teacher to student ratio averages 1:113. Overall, some 75 additional schools, or 1800 classrooms, are urgently needed.

In addition to those already established by AVSI, in part with funding from the U.S. State Department PRM Bureau, since AVSI working in the camp in 2009, the establishment of 4 new schools and 15 smaller educational centers is now underway as part of a recently-approved project that will also provide for the corresponding materials necessary to serve 7,110 children. The $1.06 million dollar budget is sustained by a $780,000 contribution from a recent agreement with UNICEF, and by contributions from donors who have responded to the Dadaab emergency campaign.

Teacher training sessions will be held to help certify 60 new teachers in the 3 locations of the camp. The training is significant not only because it builds lasting knowledge in and provides jobs for the refugees themselves, but also because of the careful emphasis to first recognize the value of each human being, including the teachers themselves, the students and also the parents and guardians.

The latest number of refugees registered through UNHCR at Dadaab camp is over 410,000. AVSI staff member Maria Li Gobbi describes the situation of many of the children who are cannot be integrated quickly enough into the existing schools.

“Walking around, there are children everywhere. There are hundreds of curious children going around in groups. They yell out ‘Hello!’ ‘How are you?’ continuously and almost obsessively. ‘How are you?’, ‘How are you?’ are perhaps the only words of English that they know. It’s a game. I want to ask: What are you doing wandering around? Why aren’t you in school? We are still in a state of emergency, but sometimes, here, immersed in this sea of wide eyes that ask for everything, one asks oneself if the people far from these eyes realize how important a school is as a friendly reference point for a child, a protected place where they can do interesting things and things constructive for their growth.”

Read more:

-See the USAID map of where AVSI is working in Kenya

-Read articles from the field by AVSI staff on IlSussidiario.net:
1) July 22, 2011
;   2) July 29, 2011; 3) August 5, 2011
4) Sept. 6, 2011 ; 5) Sept. 17, 2011;

6) Oct. 17, 2011

-AVSI-USA First Appeal: Emergency Appeal for Crisis in East Africa

-AVSI-USA Description of Educational Activities in Dadaab

-See more pictures of AVSI’s work in Dadaab