Educating refugees against all odds in Uganda

Six o’clock in the morning in Nakivale (Uganda). The sun is shining over the mist-covered fields and the birds are flying over the dirt roads. Andrew Safari just got up. She will feed her goats and prepare her motorbike for 40 kilometers to get to school.

Andrew works as a teacher at Kashogwa Primary School in a refugee camp. He is also Director of Studies and supervises all teachers, both local Ugandans like himself, and a smaller group of refugee teachers. Once at school, he removes all the dust he collected during his journey.

Once you enter the classroom, you must deal with some of your daily challenges. There are many students: 5,000 to only 54 teachers. “The tuition fees are very high,” he says. Another challenge is the difference in the ages of the students, as some of them are already adults and have children. Multiple languages ​​are spoken and there may be cultural barriers in the classroom.

Many teachers, like him, live far from school. There isn’t enough accommodation for everyone and sometimes, he says, teachers have to sleep in the classrooms.

“Despite the difficulties, I am excited to teach at a school for refugees,” Andrew says. “In my experience, refugees remain focused and serious, and they learn quickly because of the difficulties they have faced. I enjoy teaching students because I never get bored for a moment.”

Andrew’s story is part of the movie series We know hereproduced by IIEP-UNESCO and the Education Development Trust Fund with support from Dubai Cares. Sharing stories like Andrew’s, as well as those of other refugee teachers in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, provide an inside look at how teachers are changing the lives of their students, themselves and their communities.

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