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Burundian refugees offered university education in Rwanda

With no hope of returning to their country soon, Burundians who have spent more than a year living at Rwanda’s largest refugee camp, Mahama, are offered to continue with education at Rwanda’s higher learning institutions.

Close to 260 Burundi students who fled their country after finishing high schools, and others who were at the university at the time, have already started English lessons to cope up with university and tertiary education in Rwanda, according to Jean Claude Ciza, president of the association of refugee students at Mahama refugee camp in Bugesera district, Eastern Province.

"The government of Rwanda, in partnership with UNHCR, is supporting us to resume our education here in Rwanda. We want to continue with studies and, we are lucky to get an opportunity to study in the Rwandan universities," Ciza told reporters Saturday at Mahama refugee camp.

He added that they have been facilitated to get school basic necessities such as clothes, mattresses, soaps, beddings, shoes and scholastic materials among others.

Burundians refugees fled their country in April 2015 since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term, which he went on to win despite protests from opposition.

"Refugees can face many barriers to accessing higher education, including a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs. We are supporting Burundian refugees and other refugees in Rwanda to access quality education," said Seraphine Mukantabana, Rwanda minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.

"We are committed to ensure that all refugee students with a merit are given chance to access university education, and we have initiated a move, with the support of UNHCR," she added.

Mukantabana said that with the help of UNHCR and donors, they will continue to support the other remaining refugees to reach higher education.

Rwanda is home to over 162,000 refugees who live in various camp, most of them being Congolese and Burundians. Mahama camp currently hosts more than 49,000 refugees


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