Five refugee-led organisations (RLOs) are transforming their communities by delivering formal education initiatives to refugee children. The schools run by the RLOs, are providing over 2,071 children with unique and quality education opportunities that can help them build better futures.

At a global level, UNHCR estimate that half of the 3.5 million refugee children of primary school age do not go to school. This can have severe developmental and psychosocial impact on these young people on top of their experiences of being forcibly displaced. Formal education systems in refugee-hosting countries often cannot meet the demands, as well as there being multiple barriers for refugees enrolling in schools. RLOs are playing a vital role in closing these gaps, however their expertise in delivering formal education is not always formally recognised.

Refugee-led organisations are working to ensure that the next generation of children can build better futures for themselves. They want to build more classrooms, ensure teachers are trained properly, and ensure that children can access learning in safe spaces that nurture and protect them.

These organisations are coming together despite these challenges to serve their communities meaningfully. Find out more about the progress they’ve made below and read their stories of collective change. The more support they receive, the more they will be able to improve the quality of the learning experience and enroll more children in their schools. Be part of the change and donate today.

Gender Distribution

Progress has been gained in resolving the predominant disparity in access to education for girls. Cultural barriers, societal norms and economic constraints have often affected female enrollment rates, perpetuating inequalities in education opportunities. The refugee-led schools now depict a negligible difference between boys and girls. With additional resources and support at all the schools they can ensure the advancement of education for both genders. The RLOs are now considering how to increase enrollment of boys who are at risk of dropping out to pursue jobs that support their livelihoods .

Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Most of the teachers in the refugee-led schools are volunteers from the community commonly referred to as incentive workers. While the schools charge relatively low fees towards the school running costs, most refugee households cannot afford that due to other competing needs such as food and health care. The significantly high student-to-teacher ratio translates to compromised quality in lessons delivery and learning. With additional funding, the schools can employ more teachers to provide better quality of education that these children deserve.

Teacher Qualification Disparity Ratio

Some teachers employed by the schools are utilising the teaching qualifications they acquired back in their countries to support the schools within their communities. Together with incentive workers from the community, they need improved teacher development opportunities to ensure the schools comply with expected national standards. In a few schools, they incorporate the support of national qualified teachers. The collective are committed to ensure that their teachers have access to continuous teacher development opportunities to keep improving the quality of education that is available.

Classroom Capacity Assessment

The refugee-led organisations that form this collective have largely depended on donor funding to construct schools and learning centres in an effort to address the lack of access to education among children in their communities. There is a noticeable imbalance between enrollment and the number of classrooms available. As such, there is a pressing need to address infrastructure deficiencies to improve learning and teaching quality.

The Change

In their pursuit to foster educational equity, this collective of refugee-led organisations are working in refugee communities in Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi. Through collaborative efforts, they hope to lead transformational change and create inclusive learning environments for refugee children and youth across these countries.

The collective stands united in its commitment to championing the rights and aspirations of refugee communities. By harnessing the power of collective action, advocacy, and innovation, it seeks to transform challenges into opportunities, barriers into pathways, and dreams into realities for refugee children and youth in the pursuit of a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

Join us in solidarity and collaboration, as together, we can create lasting impact and meaningful change in the lives of refugee communities.

YIDA’s story of change

YIDA Youth Initiative is a refugee-led organisation that focuses on Early Child Development in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Southwest Uganda. They have built a primary school and an early education childhood centre (ECD) in the settlement, to create a safe space for over 700 refugee children annually. the 2024 enrollment is as follows: 307 children at YIDA ECD ( 140 boys, 167 girls) and 419 children at YIDA primary school (217 boys, 202 girls). YIDA ECD centre and primary schools are ranked among the best learning centers in Kyegegwa district.

Each figure represents 20,000 students

Refugee organisations across the world are responding to the education crises amongst their communities. At the global level, UNHCR estimates that half of the 3.5 million refugee children of primary school age do not go to school.

In Eastern Africa, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes, this is estimated to be 1.11 million children

One person per 20,000 estimated students


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