A Report on the Education of Urban Refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. Focus: The Sudanese Refugee Children and Youth

As the world undergoes rapid urbanization, a growing number of the world’s refugees is settling in large towns and cities. In Kenya, refugees are required to stay in refugee camps located in remote parts of the country. Despite this requirement, a large proportion of refugees has continued to leave the camps and settled in Nairobi. Refugees move to urban areas with the hope of securing better livelihoods, security, income-generating opportunities and expanded access to education and healthcare. However, urban refugees lack legal protection and material assistance, and limited access to basic services, including education. In Nairobi, xenophobic and discriminative urban refugee policies preclude the admission of many refugee children and youth into public schools in the city. In turn, these children and youth’s enrolment in private schools in Nairobi is hindered by their parents’ and guardians’ precarious socio-economic status. To mitigate limited educational opportunities and access, urban refugees in Kenya and other African cities actively look for alternative settings in which to educate their children. This report details the educational opportunities and challenges of refugee children in a Sudanese refugee community school in Nairobi. The report endeavors to show that alternative schools established by refugee communities have the potential to provide educational access to more refugee children, help ease congestion in public schools, and, with adequate assistance, provide quality education. The recommendations in this report will support the Government of Kenya and national and international humanitarian agencies in developing strategies aimed at providing and supporting effective education for urban refugee children and youth.

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