, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – As part of Vodafone Foundation’s Leadership Lessons programme for young people living in refugee camps, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has urged girls living in refugee camps to embrace education for a better future.
Eighteen year-old Yousafzai who is the youngest Nobel Prize winner and a children’s rights activist said refugee children have a right to education like any other child.
Speaking by video call from the UK to students in Dadaab refugee camp, Yousafzai shared her experiences and discussed the importance of education with the class.
“You must spread the message of education and courage for girls. You have no limit. You can do it,” she said.
“Have big dreams, there’s no job in the world that’s limited to men only,” she told girls at the camp.
Leadership lessons programme is part of the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR’s Instant Network Schools initiative. It provides young people living in refugee camps, aged between 13 and 27, with access to inspirational speakers and experts from different backgrounds, who discuss their personal stories, share their knowledge and answer questions on their areas of expertise.
The programme provides tablet-based teaching in schools in refugee camps.
Business leaders such as WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, The Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and Unilever CEO Paul Polman have recently given interactive tutorials to students, including those studying business studies. Other experts who will give lessons include artist Lisa Milroy and American internet pioneer Vint Cerf.
Yousafzai said she was inspired to learn the impact that technology has had on the lives of the students in Dadaab.
“If you are living in a refugee camp and are limited to that area, technology helps you discover more, and know more,” said Yousafzai. “The world is so limited if you don’t have access to technology. Technology allows you to see the world and what is out there.”
The average amount of time a young refugee is displaced from his or her home is 17 years, according to UNHCR. Many young people are born and raised in the closed environment of camp with minimal contact with the outside world, and little or no access to quality education. For a lot of girls living in Dadaab, there are also considerable social and cultural barriers to education, and many do not make the transition from primary to secondary education.
“The Instant Network Schools programme is providing young people living in the some of the toughest environments, often with no access or exposure to life outside of the camps, with educational resources and access to inspiring people, such as Malala Yousafzai, who encourage them to continue their education and have career aspirations,” Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said.