HOPEFUL: Annett Gunther

Rapid educational response is now seen as a means of addressing the psychosocial needs of victims of mass population displacements, caused by war, civil conflicts and persecution, the German Ambassador to Botswana, Annett Gunther has said.

Speaking during the recent 20th Anniversary of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Scholarship Programme (DAFI) in Phakalane, Gunther further said education was a key for survival for displaced people.

“Education can convey knowledge and skills important for survival in a refugee crisis, and can help prepare for a sustainable solution by creating a pool of highly qualified people that is critically needed in the countries emerging from conflict, to which refugees repatriate,” she added.

She was making reference to the DAFI programme, which was initiated by the German Government in 1992, as the only available support for refugees worldwide to continue to tertiary education.

“Unfortunately only a small proportion of refugee students completing secondary school, which is difficult enough most of the times, can be offered scholarships to attend university or similar courses under the DAFI programme.

In Botswana, the programme commenced in 2002 and has been supporting tertiary education for bright young people, to date 36 young refugee students and graduates have been supported by the DAFI Programme.”

Gunther noted that although at first sight not a big number the 36 students with their own personal example have been and will be able to encourage and inspire other refugees from Dukwi to pursue education in every possible and available form.

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