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May 2017 Featured Photographer of the Month

The Other One Percent

Antoine Tardy | Kenya, Jordan

Organization: UNHCR

Mariam, 22, from Somalia. Arrived at the Kakuma refugee camp in 2008. Enrolled in the Diploma of Liberal Studies offered by JWL. “I think the best way to defeat an idea is to educate people. As Mandela said, “education is the greatest weapon you can use to change the world.” In my community, there are cultural norms which I disagree with, especially regarding limits to girls’ education. I believe I can contribute to transforming these norms. I have to study hard in order to help change my society. I believe in the future generation and people like me who can make the world a better and more peaceful place. Today I am still a refugee, I don’t have a choice. But I believe in myself. It doesn’t matter how long it will take, I will make something out of my life.”

Worldwide, there are over 21.3 million refugees. Only 1% have access to higher education. 

This exhibition tells the stories of refugee students in Kenya who overcome all the bleak figures, odds, boundaries and labels to take control of their lives and achieve success on their own terms. These are the stories of individuals who do not let their unfavorable situations define who they are and who they want to become. These are stories of those who have the chance to unlock their potential, who are translating their hardships into motivation. Ultimately, these are stories of resilience and hope, of solidarity and determination, of self-realization in the face of adversity.

In the refugee world, certainty is a scarce commodity, and the future is largely unknown. For now, all these students know is that higher education sets them on a hopeful trajectory, and maximizes their chances to build a brighter future for themselves, their families, their communities and, ultimately, their countries. It is a stepping stone to becoming who they are. Everything else is beyond their control.

Commissioned by:
Education Unit
Division of International Protection

Photographs and texts by:
Antoine Tardy

The DAFI Scholarship:

UNHCR’s higher education scholarship programme, best known by its acronym DAFI – The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative, plays an integral role in enabling refugees worldwide to access higher education in their country of asylum. Since its inception in 1992, the DAFI programme has grown considerably, supporting over 4,500 refugee students to study at universities and colleges in 47 countries of asylum in 2017.

The DAFI programme not only enables young refugees to continue post-secondary education but motivates refugee children to retain in school and succeed academically. For students and graduates, the DAFI programme serves as a foundation for social and professional development, offers protection and allow them to build careers in competitive fields of employment. The social returns of the DAFI programme exceed investment at the individual level. Highly educated refugees reduce economic and psychological dependence of whole communities in host countries, improving their self-reliance and preparing them for long-term solutions.

More at http://www.unhcr.org/dafi-scholarships.

Connected Learning:

Connected Learning is an innovative form of higher education that leverages information technology to provide a powerful combination of face-to-face and online learning with some of the world’s top universities. Connected Learning enables the development and exchange of knowledge and ideas among students and faculty through the use of digital tools which aid in enabling learning that is not bound by geographical limitations. It promotes authentic self-knowledge, embeddedness in local and global learning communities, adaptive critical thinking and new media literacies to nurture a culture of adaptive life-long learning.

Connected learning engages learners in ways that allow them to link different dimensions of their learning environments: personal interests, peer relationships and opportunities. Connected learning pedagogies have been particularly successful in low-resource and marginalised learning contexts.

In 2014, UNHCR convened Connected Learning actors for the first time, in Nairobi. The benefits were obvious. In 2016, concrete steps were taken to unify innovative and digital higher education efforts through the establishment of the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium. The Consortium has attracted engagement from a wider set of actors, formalised the practice of experience-sharing, established the groundwork for a dynamic community of practice, developed a list of quality standards and strengthened networking across programs. In 2017, the Consortium aims to build on the collective momentum to consolidate effective protection-based programming in higher education through digital and connected learning, with a view to expanding geographical reach, consolidating partnerships, enhancing synergies, and strengthening the evidence base for progressive pedagogies.

More at http://www.connectedlearning4refugees.org.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

Antoine Tardy

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