Global Action Week for Education: John’s Story

26 April 2022

Related: Education, Kenya

It’s Global Action Week for Education – and the perfect time to tell you about how JRS is actively responding to the need for employment, income generation, and satisfying career paths for young refugees. 

Having the chance to work, earn a living, and be self-reliant is one of the most effective ways for refugees to rebuild their lives. Refugees have their dignity and hope reaffirmed when they acquire the means to earn their own living and support their families. 

This is John’s story: 

“The whole world has become IT, so we need to know how to use it.” 

John, a 22-year-old refugee from South Sudan, recognizes the important role that access to technology and information systems play in our current world. Raised by a single mother, he arrived in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in 2004 and completed his formal education in the camp. After financial difficulties caused him to delay seeking a post-secondary education for a year, John enrolled in the first cohort of JRS’s Pathfinder digital literacy program in Kakuma.  

The digital literacy program comprises three modules focused on Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and web development. Although COVID-19 interrupted his studies for three months, he was able to score high marks and complete the program in 2021. One of 44 graduates from the program, John qualified to compete in the 2021 Adobe Certified Professional World Championship, a global competition that tests students’ design skills using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Due to his participation, he earned an award and one-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. 

As an aspiring graphic designer, John hopes to continue developing his skills and help support his family, “Once I complete the program, I can be a graphic designer and earn my own income,” John said. “My dream of becoming a graphic designer is the only hope that keeps me alive here in the camp. The roots of education here in the camp are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.” 

John’s story is unique among refugees – but it doesn’t have to be. You can learn how governmental and non-governmental organizations alike can help more refugees access post-secondary education here.

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