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Swiss charity offers year-long university course for refugees

Anjana Sankar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on May 7, 2018 | Last updated on May 7, 2018 at 11.38 pm
Evelyne Wood and Dr Mohammed Al Hadid during the Press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.  Supplied photo
Evelyne Wood and Dr Mohammed Al Hadid during the Press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday. - Supplied photo

More than 750,000 refugees are currently hosted in Jordan as urban refugees in camps.

More than 250 refugees living in Jordan's teeming refugee camps will receive university education and vocational training thanks to Switzerland-based NGO UniRef.

The project will be implemented in partnership with Jordan Red Crescent and Isra University in Jordan, it was announced at a Press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

"The beneficiaries of UniRef are refugees living in camps, urban refugees and the host community, many of whom stay between 7 and 15 years in sorry conditions, and less than one per cent have access to university education," said Yvelyne Wood, co-founder and president of UniRef.

More than 750,000 refugees are currently hosted in Jordan as urban refugees in camps. There are three main camps in Jordan: Zaatari, Azraq and Emirati Jordanian camp.

UniRef will offer two levels of courses for the refugees in the camps. The university degrees will be offered in computer science, mobile engineering and logistics management. Recognised by the Jordan Ministry of Higher Education, each course will be of 12 months' duration, and will be delivered by faculty from Isra University.

The vocational training segment will offer programmes in assistance health workers and advanced first aiders. Recognised by the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Health, the duration of these courses will be 18 months. The curriculum is from the Jordan Red Crescent.

Wood, who is also a sculptor and visual artist, said UniRef's educational and development initiative will offer young refugees the opportunity to be less dependent on humanitarian aid and take ownership of their own future. "Every student who will obtain a university degree or benefit from a vocational training, will get a job and will not be any more part of a lost generation."

Academic courses will begin in 2019. Total number of beneficiaries in the first year will be 250 students.

Once graduated, UniRef students will be integrated into the labour market. Established in 2013, UniRef has been rendering educational programmes for Congolese refugees in Burundi camps.

Dr Mohammed Al Hadid, president, Jordan Red Crescent, said education is crucial to keep refugees away from terrorist organisations. "Refugees who are not educated are soft targets to extremist recruiters. Moreover, in future, they can contribute to the rebuilding of their home country only if they are educated."

anjana@khaleejtimes.com


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