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Malian refugee children start school

Students at refugee camp gather at school in Burkina Faso
Students at refugee camp gather at school in Burkina Faso
August 8, 2012

This week, more than 1,000 students will return to school early, and joyously. Malian children living in refugee camps in Burkina Faso will attend primary and pre-school classes helping them resume their lives as children despite their surroundings.

In the Mentao and Damba camps in Burkina Faso, 16 primary school classes and 5 preschool classes will start this week. School supplies have been donated to the children.

Children will also receive food and psycho-social support at schools. Classes will initially focus on catching students up from the previous year, but then progress as normal. The classes provide educational opportunities, raise self-confidence and build life and leadership skills.

The teaching staff is composed of teachers who are also refugees and residents of the camps, and also some others who live around the camps. Teachers are being supported with training by Plan to ensure they have the tools needed to fully implement the new curriculum.

In addition, Plan has hired 2 psychologists who will provide psychological support to children through games and recreational activities.

“Unfortunately, experience shows us that people linger as refugees for decades unable to return to their countries because of a variety of factors, including lack of security, infrastructure, employment opportunities, and feared persecution. We see this by the high number of temporary camps, established more than 30 years ago in Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, where people continue to live in limbo to this day,” said Berenger Berehoudougou Disaster Risk Manager for Plan in West Africa.

For Plan, a child refugee is a child like any other and should enjoy all his/her rights, not only the right for food and to live in a healthy environment, but also to education and protection.

“Plan believes that no matter where children are located, small remote villages or refugee camps, the education they receive stays with them throughout their lives, and helps them become self-sufficient and ready for their future,” summarized Berehoudougou.

Learn more about Plan's commitment to education


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