Refugee Samson Duru is a student in Uganda who fled South Sudan after he survived a rebel abduction when war war broke up in 2015.
His dream to continue studying was in jeopardy even as his child-colleagues were abducted by rebels and conscripted into mutinies.
His hope for education “faded further when some were killed as he watched when their school was attacked and many students abducted.”
“The war ruined our lives. Some of my friends who survived abduction escaped from the bush and opted for marriage because they got discouraged to continue with studies. Another friend, like many others, is now a child-mother,” he said on September 21.
But one year after fleeing into Uganda, Duru has found counselling that somewhat enabled him overcome the war trauma.
Mr Duru now says countries should make peace talks feasible to ensure students in South Sudan are protected from attacks and abductions.
“Wars cause a lot of trauma to learners. Children get mental problems and they cannot continue with studies especially when their parents are killed,” he observed.
Another South Sudanese refugee student, Akol Kong Wol, made a direct plea urging regional governments and international agencies to protect education in war torn States.
Similarly, Ugandan student Bosco Ayikobua asked governments to allocate more funding to handle education like any other global emergency.
Refugees comprise 614 of Rhino Camp High Secondary school’s 939 student population.
At least 325 of the above are Ugandan students.
“Governments should avoid situations that lead to wars and resources should be injected to support education of children caught up in emergencies. It is unfortunate that not all the refugee children are in school,” said Madi-Okollo District Education Officer Mr Shem Ovua whose area has a population of more than 200,000 people including over 40,000 refugees.
At Yoro base in Rhino Camp, Uganda’s State Minister for Education, Dr Joyce Moriku, September 20 vowed government’s commitment to an educated society.
“We need to make schools safe and secure for children. We want every child to be in school without fear of violence,” she added noting that enrolment of refugees in schools has increased from 53 per cent in 2019 to 73 per cent in 2022.