UNHCR Education Project, India
Of the 189,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently in India, 30,000 are children. Education is seen as vital to enhancing their future prospects, yet an average school enrolment rate of just one-in-ten is very low.
With the support of a €100,000 donation from the Lebara Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India has undertaken a year-long project to open up access to education for this vulnerable group, aiming to boost enrolment and attendance levels.
With financial restraints the main barrier to attending school, the UNHCR has increased its promotion amongst refugees of self-reliance, and the importance of education for all children through its ‘Right to Education’ campaign. With teaching in India carried out in Hindi, language is also an issue, so 1,157 students have benefitted from ‘bridge’ and Hindi language classes. Pre-school children have also been provided with equipment, services, toys and food.
Many families find it difficult to meet school documentation requirements, such as proof of residence, so the UNHCR is also now supporting families in obtaining these important papers.
This vital work has enabled the UNHCR in India to open up access to education to some 10,000 more displaced children, with enrolment rates up dramatically to an average 44% in primary and 39% in secondary schools, vastly improving the future prospects of many thousands of young refugees in India.