13 March 2014

Kenya: Former Somali Refugees Raise Funds in Canada to Build Pre-School in Dadaab

press release

Dadaab — Six years ago, Muuxi Adam met two friends in a coffee shop in the Canadian city of Winnipeg to talk about ways they could help other Somalis stuck in refugee camps in Africa.

The three, all Somali but from different clans, started by setting up a non-governmental organization, Humankind International, to spread awareness about Somali refugees in neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia, and to raise money for education projects for refugees.

In February, their initiative took concrete form with the opening of a pre-school in the Dagahaley camp, part of the world's largest refugee camp complex at Dadaab in north-east Kenya. "More than 400 children lined up to enrol in the school, but we could only take 140 for now," Muuxi told UNHCR at the recent opening ceremony. He added that half were from the camp and half from the host community.

The school has three teachers, two from the refugee community and one local Kenyan. CARE International, UNHCR's partner for primary education in Dagahaley, has connected the school to a regular water supply.

"This is one of my greatest moments in life," said Muuxi, who grew up and suffered in war-torn Somalia before becoming separated from his family and making his way in 2004 to Toronto in Canada, where he is now a citizen.

He first gained inspiration for an education project after tracking down and visiting his mother in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. While there, he met an eight-year-old refugee and asked him about school. He was shocked when the boy told him he could not go to school. That was the seed which was watered in the Winnipeg café with his fellow Somalis, who had both lived in Dadaab.

Muuxi, who is aged in his late 20s, said his NGO had spent US$35,000 on the Dadaab school, but he was confident of raising more funds through Humankind International. "Our target is to sponsor 120 refugees every year," he said, while adding: "What is important is that the school is now open to benefit the community."

Ahmed Warsame, the ethnic Somali head of UNHCR operations at Dadaab, said it was "great to witness the extraordinary efforts made by former refugees to help their communities to alleviate human suffering." Warsame, coincidentally also a Canadian citizen from Winnipeg, pledged UNHCR support for the school through the provision of equipment and learning materials.

The refugee agency supports other primary and secondary initiatives at Dadaab, which is home to some 350,000 registered refugees.


Do Not Be Afraid, You Are With The Lord, Pope Tells Kenyans

Pope Francis has told Kenyans not to fear anything as they belong to the Lord. see more »

Copyright © 2014 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 1,700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.