Faced with repeated outbreaks of novel coronavirus, local students have to stay away from classes for a long time, not only losing time with teachers and friends on campus, but also being unable to go out and explore the world.Under the new normal, Hong Kong's education is confronted with many difficulties, which makes the opportunity for refugee students to receive education even more slim.For many refugees, knowing that education is a life-changing lifeline, the struggle to survive on a daily basis and the opportunity to read and learn is a distant dream.
Rwanda in Africa hosts a large number of refugees, most of them from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.Rwanda is known as the "land of a thousand mountains". The oldest surviving refugee camp, Kiziba, is on the top of a mountain. Some Congolese refugees who fled there over the past 20 years have returned home, but there are still nearly 20,000 Congolese refugees living there.For the future of the next generation of refugees, UNHCR supports the establishment of a school in the Kiziba refugee camp, which supports courses from kindergarten to university. It hopes that through education, refugees can obtain the right to choose, change their fate with knowledge and contribute to the society.
"To be able to brighten the light bulb a little bit is an improvement."
Admittedly, it is never easy to create favorable conditions for education.Zhu Ruizhi, a junior professional officer for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR from China who has worked in Kizba for nearly two years, said there was no electricity in the camp's humble classrooms at first.At night, the refugee children read and write by dim candlelight at home.We worked around to get electricity to the classroom eventually, but because of technical limitations, we had to put four small light bulbs in four corners of the roof.Zhu has tried to arrange for the lights to be as bright as possible when there is no power to avoid permanent damage to the children's vision.
Beyond the lights, teaching materials and AIDS are similarly meagre in the camps' classrooms.Desks, chairs, books, stationery...Everything is a luxury here.For the most part, students had to stand in class, forming a large circle to "share" worn textbooks with classmates while listening to teachers' explanations.With limited resources, we struggled to fix broken schools, rush desks and seats for children, and find more usable textbooks.Education in the Kizba refugee camp is built in small steps.