195,308 people live in Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya. Here, schools are often poorly resourced and refugees cannot leave the camp.
We have been working to give 25,000 pupils access to books in their schools as well as providing, thanks to funding from Intouch Global Foundation, solar lamps that students can borrow along with books in the evenings, as most students do not have electricity at home and often struggle to study after school.
Before we started this work we visited Kakauma to establish the need in the community. We spoke to Bwise, a refugee from Congo who now works as a teacher in the camp. He told us of the challenges he faces and the need for both books and lamps.
“I’m Bwise, I’m 34 years old and I’m a refugee. I came from Congo in 2009 and I now live here in Kakuma.
I got that opportunity to come to be a teacher here, but we have many challenges in teaching.
The money that you are getting is not enough, you finish the month and there isn’t enough for your family. Another of the challenges is the climate here. It’s very hot and so it is very hard for us to survive in the heat. When I was in my home country, it is evergreen, it is not like this one. The food we are getting is not sufficient, and for education, you are coming into school on foot, you get home from school on foot and once you arrive at school we do not have enough time to read our books because we are so tired.
After we leave the school, we don’t have lamps. We don’t have any light at home that can assist us. If we did then we would be able to read or revise the material that we can teach for the next day.
We have many students in the classes, but we have some few books, and the few that we have we are sharing with all students.
Those books are not enough. The state of making research is very limited and there is no internet here.
Those are the challenges. Let me use the time to beg you for materials. If you can get enough books, we would appreciate it.”
With thanks to Intouch Global Foundation for helping us to reach over 700 pupils in Kakuma refugee camp with solar lights that now support reading after dark.