Changing refugee livelihoods through education in Rwanda
Supporting refugee students.
Submitted by: Sadiki Bamperineza – Refugee College guidance Counselor
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Refugee College Guidance Counsellors have a project under Kepler in Rwanda, supporting refugee students who are in universities by providing academic and career guidance. This has changed students’ mind-set on how they can be more sustainable and contribute economically in their country of asylum.
Our goal is for a minimum of 90 per cent of graduates in our programme to access meaningful and formal employment that supports economic and social mobility.
We also aim to build program curriculums tailored to the specific needs of employers by engaging private and public sector feedback.
We provide access to an American program from Southern New Hampshire University by providing all needed resources such as tuition, educational guidance and advice, learning tools (computers, internet, etc.) and creating a flexible learning environment for refugee students.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Given our goals, we focus on factors that enable the inclusion of refugees into the community the job market. To make this happen, we:
- Build advocacy with partners.
- Asses the labour market to learn the best ways to support refugee students.
- Collect feedback from employers to improve the program design.
- Do personalized career advising for refugee students.
- Educate refugee students for life success beyond academic success.
- Conduct workshops and networking events where we highlight laws that allow refugees to work in Rwanda.
- Southern New Hampshire University
- College Board
How challenges were overcome
Challenges encountered include:
- Lack of employer knowledge about laws and policies regarding the employment of refugees in Rwanda.
- Negative student mind-sets around opportunities for employment and future prospects as well as a lack of knowledge of their rights and the formal job market.
These challenges were overcome through:
- Organizing Networking events with employers
- Training our students in technology, professional competencies, legal rights, and the employment landscape
- Exposing refugee students to outside camp opportunities (private and public sector)
Results of the Good Practice
- Refugee students are now able to access employment.
- Employers’ perspectives are changing towards the employment of refugees.
- Inclusion of refugees in social and economic development.
- Refugee students’ mindsets have changed regarding employment accessibility.
- Kepler has been able to meet its goal of 90% graduate employment within 6 months after graduation for non-refugee students. For refugee students, we have had an incredible initial success and we believe that the outcomes will be the same.
- As the next steps, we are engaging the alumni in peer to peer support for securing employment.