The German government has commended the Zambian government for supporting the implementation of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) scholarships programme for refugees.
Celebrating 30 years of leadership in Lusaka yesterday, German Embassy Press Officer, Lisa Stubbs, applauded the government not only for the country’s hospitality to host refugees but also the collaboration in the implementation of the DAFI programme.
Ms Stubbs however bemoaned the restrictions that allegedly make it difficult for refugees to access education among other amenities. She nevertheless said Zambia has provided a conducive environment to ensure success of the DAFI programme.
She added that the programme targets to close the gender inequalities in the education sector for refugees.
Ms Stubbs said Zambia is one of the countries that has achieved the goal, with 35 females receiving tertiary education out of the 71 students currently being supported under the DAFI programme in the country.
She reiterated that the DAFI scheme has been the most enduring opportunity for refugees that ensures access to tertiary education.
“With the help of the DAFI programme, young refugees can further develop their skills and knowledge and acquire academic qualifications,” Ms Stubbs said.
She further explained that the DAFI scholarships target talented refugees to enable them undergo technical and professional training in the country of asylum or their home country.
And Education Officer at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Jockshan Foryoh, acknowledged the effort being made by the Zambian government to support education.
Mr Foryoh said the demographic of refugees hosted in Zambia reflect a high number of a young population in need of education.
He said that the Zambian government has recognised this and has continued to expand education services and facilitate access to education for young refugees within and outside refugee settlements.
Mr Foryoh said this in a speech read on his behalf by UNHCR Protection Associate, Susan Shanzi.
Meanwhile, UNHCR implementing partner, Caritas Czech Republic Programme Manager, Lucie Hrabcova, is happy to be part of a programme that provides young people with an opportunity to attain tertiary education even in a country of asylum.
Ms Hrabcova said the programme is perfectly designed, as it provides access to future development for refugees.
Meanwhile, a beneficiary, Onesphore Murishi, who is a Burundi national, said the programme gave him hope for a bright future.
Dr Murishi said the DAFI scholarship helped him to graduate as a medical doctor at the University of Zambia.
He has since called on other refugees to take advantage of such opportunities.
The DAFI scholarship programme offers qualified refugee and returnee students the possibility to earn an undergraduate degree in their country of asylum or home country.