59 returnee students have signed their DAFI scholarship contracts for 2012, administered by the RET, at the headquarters of the National Office for Returnees and Stateless Persons (ONPRA) in Bujumbura this Thursday, 1st of March 2012.
The selected students are 53 Burundian returnees (14 female and 39 male students) and six Congolese refugees (two young women and four young men). 49 of them (all Burundian) are enrolled at the “Université Lumière” and the others at the University Hope of Africa (four Burundian 1972 returnees and the six Congolese students) in Bujumbura.
According to Michael Bartholmei, First Secretary at the German Embassy, ??the German Government initiated the DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative) programme in 1992 and covers all related costs.
This German academic initiative, as he points out, provides scholarships for young refugees to continue their studies at universities, colleges and polytechnics in their host country: “The essential purpose of the programme is to contribute to self-sufficiency of young refugee men and women through job oriented studies”, says Mr. Bartholmei.
Since March 2011, the RET was chosen to manage this programme in Burundi in collaboration with the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Barbara Zeus, the RET’s head of mission in Burundi, thanks UNHCR for putting their trust in the RET for the management of the DAFI programme. She also thanks the students for their satisfactory work during the previous academic year: “All were able to pass the year and no cases of abandonment were recorded,” she says. Barbara Zeus urges all students to comply with the requirements of university education such as discipline, skills development, perseverance and commitment during 2012. She advises them to take advantage of this support in order to develop skills that enable them to contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.
(Source: IWACU: Voices of Burundi – by Rénovat Ndabanshinze – 2 March 2012)