Young Somali Refugees Tell Their Stories

Home / Blog / Young Somali Refugees Tell Their Stories
Young Somali Refugees Tell Their Stories

Children and youth make up half of all refugee populations worldwide. In other words, 50 million young people are living displaced and disrupted lives, facing indignities and insecurities daily, lacking the promise of hopeful future. Education is a key factor in bring about positive change in the context of this crisis.

Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is committed to bring about real change for children and youth, especially girls and young women, who are living disrupted lives. We work with a solution we call Planet Learning, an innovation that merges technology and leadership, which enables personalized learning.  The Planet Learning platform provides a dashboard for each learner to access an abundance of learning resources, with functionality that is self-paced and learner-centered. It is low cost and low power, works off the internet and off the grid and, is a system designed to run on the smallest of devices for local implementation.

This week, we heard from our Somali partners at the Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, where Planet Learning has been in use for the past three years. During this time, the platform has been used by more than 5,000 young people within the Community Learning Centres that are run by UNHCR.  The stories they share are powerful and transformative; please read on and consider supporting the refugee coaches that are critical to this program. See below for the difference you can make!

Rahma is 19 and lives in the Hagadera camp in Dedaab.  She arrived at the camp in 1998 along with her family; she is the eldest daughter. Rahma was a stellar learner in primary school and early secondary school, though her situation changed in 2016 when she was pressured to stay home and help with work around the house. Rahma’s mother struggled as Rahma’s sister is disabled, requiring her attention.  Out of school for two months, Rahma’s friend Aisha asked her to join her at the Community Centre library for a ‘girl child training session’ by the OLE team.  She participated in the course, watched related videos, and was in the audience for a show put on by students on the importance of education and how to overcome the barriers that may hold you back. Rahma narrates her story:

After the event, I was struck by emotions and wild feelings of remorsefulness as I missed lessons for a couple of months because of obstacles that I now see I could have overcome, if only I searched diligently for solutions.”

Working with her OLE coaches at Hagadera, Rahma developed a plan with her parents that enabled her to return to school for the following term. Today, she has gained her momentum and is preparing for her final exams.

Amina M. is 17 years old (picture above). She is from a poor family and struggled in school, failing to pass her exams, which would make it possible for her to continue her education. The Ifo team introduced her to Planet Learning and its digital library of learning resources. Together with her coaches, Amina developed a personal learn plan that enabled her to improve her performance such that she is now one of the strongest academically to join secondary this year! Amina shares:

As a member of the Ifo Community Learning Centre, I have met awesome people that I know I will continue to be friends with. Being a part of the Centre is a thrill and I’m thankful for the experience and all the opportunities I’ve gained from the Planet system.

Duale is 20 years old and also lives in the Ifo refugee camp. Duale lost both his parents at the age of 10 and his uncle has been caring for him since. Reserved and ashamed of having to repeat class in primary school, having failed his exams many times, he had little hope of continuing his education. The Ifo team thought Duale would benefit from the life-skill course on the Planet Learning system.  Kudos to Duale for gaining the strength and self-esteem to complete the course and pass his exam.  Duale is now  a part of the Towfiq Second School in the Ifo camp!  Duale told the Ifo team:

Open Learning Exchange has transformed my life, and brought hope world wide.”



Our funding for this transformational program runs dry after this July. Currently, we are supporting 6 coaches who in turn support 500 young people (at any one time) to continue as learners and leaders.

To sustain, we need just $2,000/month.

To scale and enable this program to double in size during the next year, we need $50,000.

Please champion this remarkable and collaborative effort. Make a real, positive difference in the lives of young refugees and invest in Open Learning Exchange now!