By Christophe Irakoze
Voices of Refugee Youth is a project initiated by UNHCR and its partners in education that studies the impact of secondary and higher education for young refugees by working with refugee youth, and collecting their responses to a survey about their experience in education.
I applied to the Voices of Refugee Youth project because I wanted to work as a Youth Researcher. When I studied research methodology at the university, I discovered that research is an important tool in our daily life. According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon.” There are a few reasons that I wanted to work as a Youth Researcher.
Firstly, participating in this research will enable me to develop many skills that I will use in other research projects.
As a Youth Researcher, I will:
- Be able to show my local community and the global community the importance of refugee education.
- Develop my skills for citizenship, employability and, entrepreneurship
- Use online learning environment and digital research tools
- Complement my academic skills
I would like to research how to enhance the living conditions of other refugees that we stay together or refugees from other countries. There are many fields in which I wish to participate by doing research such as education, rural development and, the economy… I wanted to do this because some projects initiated by non-profit organisations, governments or young entrepreneurs start but after a certain time fail due to the lack of research before they started or they generate a smaller production than what was expected.
Secondary, Voices of Refugee Youth project is an important piece of research because it focuses on education which is fundamental. Many refugee students do not continue their studies because of many reasons such as: social or personal problems, lack of motivation and financial support, and lack of facilities, tools and school documents.
This project will explore the experiences and the ideas of refugee youth that are not known by the global community.
I wanted to participate in this project because it will help others refugees, as the results of data collection will be presented to UNHCR and its partners. These results will show a clear image of the situation in which young refugees are studying. This project is an opportunity for discovering new information about the origin of problems faced by young refugees and find out how to solve them.
The young refugees who will participate in this study will have the time to explain clearly how they feel about education, how their daily life can be enhanced to allow them to succeed at their studies. They will also suggest different solutions to many problems that they meet. As this project will cover two years, there will be a follow up on how young refugees overcome different problems by using the skills gained from school, and identify which support they may have from UNHCR and its partners.
To conclude, this research is a good opportunity to advocate for the refugees around the world because everywhere refugees meet almost same challenges like barriers of accessing education, lack of personal materials, causes of stopping studies for young refugees, lack of facilities and lack school materials. For me, these are the main reasons why I wanted to participate in the Voices of Refugee Youth study as a Youth Researcher.