Refugees in Mozambique pursue their dreams of becoming teachers


Refugees in Mozambique pursue their dreams of becoming teachers

21 June 2021

Erick teaching

During the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in 2019, the Government of Mozambique pledged to continue the local integration of refugees, by reinforcing synergies between refugees and host communities, and increasing access to education, health, and basic services for refugees and host communities by 2023.  

Mozambique has a long history of receiving refugees and has kept its doors open to asylum seekers through the years, thus allowing humanitarian access and protection for those who have been forced to flee their homes due to insecurity and armed conflicts. 

In Maratane Refugee settlement, Nampula province, Kissembe and Erick, two Congolese refugees, teach high school classes side-by-side with Mozambican teachers at the local Secondary School.  

Kissembe arrived in Mozambique 11 years ago, while Erick has been in the country for 20 years. They both fled the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to insecurity and armed conflict in their villages. Kissembe’s journey started in 2010, when his family escaped DRC and first sought refuge in Tanzania before finally reaching Mozambique. Erick headed to Mozambique in search of a safer place to rebuild his life after losing all his family.  

Kissembe and Erick are part of the 10,079 Congolese refugees who have found safety in Mozambique. Both live in Maratane refugee settlement, home to one-third of the total number of refugees in Mozambique. As years passed, and after facing many challenges, they were gradually integrated into the community and were able to access new opportunities. They now teach French and English at the Secondary School of Maratane.  

“I thank Mozambique Government and UNHCR for giving me the chance to study and to acquire qualifications that prepared me to compete on equal terms with Mozambican teachers.” Kissembe says. 

Man sitting at a desk in front of a black board

The refugee community in Mozambique, has been here for many years and is asking for proper access to education, job opportunities, and healthcare. UNHCR, inspired by the pledge made by the government at the Global Refugee Forum and in partnership with the Education Authorities in Nampula Province, coordinated the construction and establishment of the Primary and Secondary Schools of Maratane. 

Previously, teaching in Maratane Camp was done by refugee volunteers and did not meet the basic criteria of the learning system in the country. With the school’s establishment, the need for qualified teaching staff was essential, which created opportunities for Mozambicans and refugees with the necessary qualifications to apply. 

Erick and Kissembe have shared for a long time the dream of becoming professors. Both graduated in French Language Teaching from the Pedagogical University of Mozambique. They feel lucky that the education system in Mozambique is open to refugees. They had the chance to study, which opened doors to job opportunities and further self-reliance. 

“I got accepted to teach 9th and 10th grades as teaching assistant. Now, I look forward to being part of the main staff and hope this will happen in the near future” said Kissembe. 

“I am grateful to UNHCR and government of Mozambique for giving me the chance to attend Pedagogical University, so that I can pursue my dreams” said Erick. 

Man sits at a desk with a mask on in front of a black board

Erik and Kissembe are part of a group of nine refugees who live in Marantane and attended the Pedagogical University. They are all looking for better opportunities that allow them to thrive in the country they have chosen to call home. Through strengthened cooperation and solidarity between refugees and host communities, one of the core principles of the Global Compact on Refugees, the Government of Mozambique, UNHCR, and their partners are demonstrating that together, we can achieve anything.