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“There Is No School And That’s A Big Problem”: Adolescent Refugees And Education | PODCAST | Episode #2

ODI podcasts · “I just want to go back to school”: adolescent refugees and education

PODCAST | Adolescents in crisis: unheard voices is a five-part podcast series that shines a light on the millions of adolescents around the world who are forced to flee their homes. They form part of a global community of some 70 million refugees, displaced because of persecution, climate crises and conflict. Nearly half of those are under 18.

The podcast series gives voice to adolescents – their lives, their stories, their aspirations and their hopes for the future. It draws on the nine-year research programme Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) and their recent publication ‘Adolescents in Humanitarian Crisis: Displacement, Gender and Social Inequalities’

“There is no school and that’s a big problem”: adolescent refugees and education | PODCAST | Episode #2

The UN blueprint, the Global Compact for Refugees, has education as one of its top priorities. But despite this, many adolescents are excluded from schools and denied a proper education when they are forced to flee.

In episode two, we focus on this crisis of education, and compare the plight of young refugees who have fled from their homes in Myanmar and Syria, and settled in Bangladesh and Jordan. We speak to Yasin, a 14-year-old refugee who currently lives in a two-room tent with seven members of his family in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh. After his home was burnt down in Myanmar, his family moved to a refugee camp where he forms part of a community of an estimated one million Rohingya refugees. Bangladesh did not sign up to the 1951 global Refugee Convention and it does not consider the Rohingya people as either refugees or citizens. Families who have fled from Myanmar are not allowed to go to local schools or build permanent houses, and they remain reliant on food assistance. “When I was in Myanmar, I studied Arabic and I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to teach all sorts of students. It was my dream but now I can’t do this because of what’s going on”, explains Yasin.

We also meet Layla, a 14-year-old Syrian refugee now living in Amman, Jordan. Layla has been participating in UNICEF’s Makani programme which provides education tuition, child protection services and psychosocial support along with life skills to children in crisis. “Makani has helped a lot of girls…. Some of the people who went were angry and had no self-esteem”, says Layla. “At Makani we are told “no one is an idiot- everyone is smart – you can succeed – you just have to try”.

In episode 2 of Adolescents in Crisis: unheard voices, we look at what is needed to strengthen refugee adolescents’ education opportunities , the resources available to refugees and what we can do to improve the current situation. To listen to our other episodes or to subscribe to ODI’s podcast please visit ODI’s soundcloud channel.

This episode’s guests:

1. Sara Al Heiwidi, GAGE Jordan qualitative researcher
2. Kenan Madi, Makani Programme Manager, UNICEF Jordan
3. Khadija Mitu, GAGE Bangladesh qualitative researcher, University of Chittagong
4. Dr Nicola Jones, ODI Principal Research Fellow and GAGE Director
5. Layla*, a 14 year old Syrian refugee living in Amman
6. Yasin*, a 14 year old refugee living with his family in Cox’s Bazaar

*The names are pseudonyms to protect individual adolescent identities