Germany, UNHCR Laud Ethiopia’s Progressive Refugee Education, Integration Policy

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Addis Ababa March 24/2022 /ENA/The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Government of Germany have lauded Ethiopia’s refugee policy as it provides thousands of young refugees access to education opportunities in the country.

German Ambassador to Ethiopia Stephan Auer and UNHCR Representative Mamadou Dian Balde made the remark at the event organized to mark the 30th anniversary of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) in Addis Ababa.

DAFI is a scholarship program being provided to refugees across the world by the support of Germany.

During the occasion, it was indicated that Ethiopia’s refugee policy promotes the various rights of refugees sheltered in the country including access to education and job.

Ambassador of Germany to Ethiopia Stephan Auer said Ethiopia’s generosity and progressive approach towards refugee rights enabled DAFI program to succeed in educating more than 2,000 refugees sheltered in the country.

Since education is key to achieve goals in life, Germany attached great importance to refugee education and integration, Ambassador Auer said.

However, for the majority of refugees, university education is almost unthinkable, he added.

According to him, globally only one percent of the refugees get a chance for university education.

However, Ethiopia’s generosity as a host nation to refugees has enabled DAFI scholarship to be successful at the country level, he noted.

Worldwide, Ethiopia is the country with the highest number of DAFI scholarships, the ambassador stated.

Over the last 20 years, nearly 1,000 refugees have been able to graduate from universities as per the program in Ethiopia.

UNHCR Country Director, Dr. Mamadou Dian Balde reiterates that out of 130 countries that UNHCR operates, Ethiopia is one of the most generous towards refugees.

According to him, Ethiopia is a leader not only in having progressive policies but also receiving refugees for decades.

Despite all the challenges,  Ethiopia managed to open its door to refugees, the director said adding that  UNHCR recognizes and wants to support that.

The Director General of Refugees and Returnees Service of the Federal Government of Ethiopia, Tesfahun Gobezay, on his part said Ethiopia provides special packages to refugees including privileges to attend school at all levels.

He said there are refugee students from pre-school to university levels in Ethiopia noting that 75 percent of the refugees’ education is subsidized by the government of Ethiopia.

“We have one of the most progressive laws in the world in terms of giving privileges and packages to refugees. We have given them the right to civil registry, they can open a bank account, a driving license, and work permit to engage in different work opportunities in the country,’’ Tesfahun stated.

During the event, current beneficiaries of DAFI have conveyed their gratitude to the governments of Ethiopia and Germany.

Among the DAFI alumni, Ismael Abdella, who is a Yemeni refugee studying at Haramaya University, and Duol Deng Diew, a refugee from South Sudan who graduated from the Gambella University with a gold medal conveyed their gratitude to the Ethiopian and German governments to enable them achieve their goals.

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