On the 15th November, Eric Schwartz, the Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. Government’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) made a visit to the RET centres in the Hadjer-Hadid camp in Chad.
Mr Schwartz was told by our staff how the BPRM funded programme has developed from a non-formal Life Skills programme in 2005 through a formal Grade 8 programme which enables students to progress onto secondary level education, to now include formal secondary schooling with certified examinations by the Sudanese Ministry for Education (meaning that students will not have to travel to Darfur to take the exams), and access to Secondary Education through Distance Learning (SEDL). The Assistant Secretary was especially impressed with the RET’s programmes, and spoke to a few of the 37 assembled students at the youth centre, asking them about what they are learning, how the programme has impacted their lives and those of their families, and what they intended to do afterwards…
One male student discussed his history in the camp, telling Mr Schwartz how he had been in Hadjer-Hadid for seven years, and when he’d first arrived he had had little knowledge of how to read and write, but he enrolled in the RET’s Life Skills programme and after three years took the Grade 8 exam, and upon passing that was able to proceed to secondary school. Next year he will take his final exams and hopes to be able to move onto university after that. Another student told Mr Schwartz how she had arrived in the camp unable to read and write, but now being enrolled in secondary school has given her hope of one day becoming a doctor.
The BPRM programme in the refugee camps in Chad has afforded protection and security through education for the youth living there for five years now, and over those years the number of girls attending has risen from 7% of the student body to over 50% currently enrolled in the Life Skills programme. The RET is the key provider of education for refugee youth in the Eastern Chadian camps, and we hope to continue with the successes and achievements in the coming years.