Earlier this year, we introduced you to Yvonne, a young person living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya. Like many displaced people, Yvonne’s movements are restricted and she has few opportunities.
Yvonne successfully completed secondary school in the camp and now works as the librarian at Morneau Shepell Girls Boarding School there. She believes her academic success is down to reading books which taught her how to write well and express herself.
Yvonne’s library is very popular with pupils and we chatted to two of her avid readers, Fortune (18) and Amia (17) who told us about education and why books are so important.
How did you come to be in Kakuma Refugee Camp?
Fortune: My parents always tell me that it was about discrimination in the Congo. I came here when I was very small so I don’t know more. My whole life has been here.
Amia: My parents are from Somalia but I don’t know anything about Somalia. I was born here in the camp. I always ask my parents why they fled from Somalia and they always told me it was because of the war.
Fortune: Actually the camp is not that good, so you cannot remain in the camp forever. That is why education is important – it can give us the opportunity to leave the camp.
. . . education is important – it can give us the opportunity to leave the camp.
What do your parents think about you being in school?
Amia: They are very happy because they know girls in the Morneau Shepell School have opportunities for scholarships [for university places]. I want to do medicine because my best subjects are the sciences.
We also have maximum time for revisions and so I get good grades. So they are very happy about it and know that I will become successful.
But few families are like our families. Other families do not know the importance of education. They keep their daughters at home to cook and fetch water.
Few families are like our families. Other families do not know the importance of education. They keep their daughters at home to cook and fetch water.
What would be different if you didn’t have any books in school?
Fortune: If there are no books, there is no learning. If you don’t have books you don’t know what you are going to do in class. Because first you look in the book before the teacher comes to class, then they explain more and you understand very well. But without the books you cannot.
If there are no books, there is no learning.
Even some things you didn’t know are in story books – we now know more about people outside. These story books have people from abroad.
Amia: Before the teacher comes to class you have to go through the book and look at the topic. When the teacher comes, you understand more. But if there are no books you cannot get the first-hand information that you want. It can lower your grade.
The storybooks also have words of encouragement because most of the books talk about students who faced challenges and were successful in the end. They give us motivation.
. . . most of the books talk about students who faced challenges and were successful in the end. They give us motivation.
Read Yvonne’s story or learn more about our work to support displaced people using the links below.