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Giving everyone a chance to access education

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Some 1.75 million refugee children are not in primary school and 1.95 million refugee adolescents are not in secondary school, the report found. Refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average (see Missing out: Refugee Education in Crisis). Through Building Resilience in Crises through Education (BRiCE) the European Union helps to improve access to quality basic education in pre-school, primary and lower secondary levels for children in fragile and crisis-affected environments.

A dangerous journey

Mtendeli Refugee Camp, Tanzania

“It was around 2 to 3am. We were sleeping. Suddenly we heard noises outside. Some people had surrounded our house,” Tedia Nibizi (16 years old) explains. “A man called my father’s name and demanded all of us to step outside. He obliged. They fired four times in the air; they grabbed my father and dragged him into the darkness”, she says and cries.

This was the last time she saw her father. Fearing for their life, together with her mother and her two younger brothers, they crossed the border into Tanzania in September 2016.

Tedia now in formal school
Tedia now in formal school - Copyright: NRC Tanzania

Feeling unsafe in the refugee camp school

Back in Burundi, Tedia had dropped out at grade 8. She had a couple of friends and she had good teachers too. She got support from her father to buy school uniforms and school materials.

As she had to leave school in Burundi, she had been struggling to find a safe school in the camp. In September 2017, she enrolled in school in the camp, but she did not manage to stay there because of nightmares that were haunting her as she was traumatised by incidents in Burundi and because her class teacher intimidated her in school.

“He repeatedly demanded a sexual relationship with me. I refused, and my life at school became more difficult. I hear other girls had suffered the same problem and some had slept with him to get good grades, I would rather go home than accepting that”, Tedia says.

She adds that whenever the teacher saw that she was not in class, he would assign a test so that she missed it and when she went back to school, he could call emphasising her to accept him, otherwise she would score zero and fail the exam. Tedia decided to drop out from school in November 2017 just 3 months after she had joined.

Tedia and her best friend Gisele
Tedia and her best friend Gisèle - Copyright: NRC Tanzania
Tedia at her desk
Tedia at her desk - Copyright: NRC Tanzania

Catching up and building dreams to become a doctor

Tedia has recently transitioned to formal school after completion of the catch-up programme from NRC’s Accelerated Education School.

I want to become a doctor
- Tedia, 16 years, a catch-up learner who transitioned to formal school

“Because of NRC, I am a student today, I thank God and all of you”, Tedia says. When she heard of the learning opportunities to drop-outs and overaged children, her education aspiration resumed. Together with her best friend Gisele (17 years old), she enrolled for catch-up classes. She hoped she would not face the same problems she had experienced in the previous school. She says: “I believed that at the NRC school, teachers would not be like that and it was true, they respect students. I wish we can stay and sit for the final exams in this school”.

“I want to become a doctor”. Tedia is very enthusiastic and wants to realise her aspirations. She likes science, Kirundi and French. She also likes mathematics. 

Building Resilience in Crises through Education (BRiCE) is a €21 million thematic programme specifically aimed at improving access to safe and quality basic education for children in fragile and crisis-affected contexts. It also seeks to build evidence on what works well in times of crisis.

Research on teaching and learning in safe learning environments is an important aspect and will help build the evidence base of what works best in crises. The action is taking place in the DRC, Ethiopia, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda (2018 to 2021).

The programme is implemented by four consortia under the leadership of Plan International, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children and Oxfam/IBIS together with local partners and research institutions and will benefit up to 190,000 children, including refugee and internally displaced children.