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New opportunities for dignified work

Young people need an education that prepares them to succeed in their local job market. When matched with relevant work that responds to their communities’ actual needs, they are likelier to become steady income earners who can support themselves and their families.

In 2015, we invested in Kepler, an organisation working to innovate higher education in Africa by giving young people the skills they need to get a job in business. Together, we also piloted one of the first university degree programmes in a refugee camp. This gives ambitious young adults at Kiziba camp in Rwanda a high-quality university education and a US-accredited degree from Southern New Hampshire University.

© Kepler/Alex BuisseNHCR/Sebastian Rich

A Kepler student rejoices with Kiziba refugee camp community members after his graduation ceremony for his Associate of Arts degree from Southern New Hampshire University.

By 2018, 115 students had enrolled at Kiziba, and another 435 at Kepler’s campus in Kigali. We are continuing to support the organisation to expand the programme across East Africa, so thousands of young people will get to pursue a higher education and to take their first steps towards a career.

We are also helping young people develop their skills and channel their talents through other partnerships, such as with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Nairobi-headquartered media and communications organisation Well Told Story. Both of their training and employment programmes lead refugees and young Kenyans living in Nairobi’s informal settlements to earn better incomes and look forward to brighter futures.

I dream of being a journalist.

Patience, trainee

I dream of being a journalist.

Patience, trainee
© IKEA Foundation

One of those trainees is Patience. As a baby, she experienced horrific violence in Congo’s brutal civil war. Now she has done vocational training in photography and videography through the IRC in Nairobi. When she first started her training, she was worried—she didn’t know how she was even going to hold the camera with only one hand. Nevertheless, she told herself to be confident in who she was—and she is now thriving.

“I dream of being a journalist,” she says, “someone who exposes ills and community problems.”