With over 1.2 million refugees, Uganda is Africa’s largest refugee hosting country. The majority are from South Sudan and over 60 percent of them are children below 18 years of age. Among the 14 to 18 teenage population, almost 90 percent are out of school. Prolonged conflict and a breakdown of the education system in South Sudan have interrupted formal schooling for these children. After settling in Uganda, inadequate facilities, expectations to contribute to the family’s income and stigma have kept the older children out of school.
Working with humanitarian partners in Uganda, the European Union is funding an Accelerated Education Programme (AEP). It helps the teens catch up on basic education and teaches them in ways that are adapted to their cognitive maturity. The programme also offers pupils a safe environment in which they can feel comfortable with their peers and extra-curricular activities to help them deal with trauma and psychological problems.
The humanitarian organisations running this programme, that work as a consortium under the lead of Save the Children, include Finn Church Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council and War Child Holland. The European Union has allocated €7 million to this programme.
Story and photos by Bertha Wangari, Information and Communications Assistant, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)