African refugees in Egypt need education

Sent On: 
Mon, 2021-06-28
Newsletter Number: 

Being a refugee in a country that is not one’s own is difficult. That person is neither equal to the citizens of the host country, nor are they able to return to their own country. The only effective way to support refugees in any country is through education, giving individual refugees the skills needed to address the difficult circumstances they are living in, and use these skills to uplift their own community. Skills-building, therefore, should never be an effort that serves the interest of an individual refugee only but a refugee with a strong motivation to serve other members of his/her community as well. This is why Dutch donor EO-Metterdaad has done well to support the “Training Community Leaders in the refugee community in Egypt,” project. The report describing the training activities between February 2020 and February 2021 has been placed online.


The training of refugee leaders has been carried out by the Centre for Arab-West Understanding, an Egyptian NGO founded in 2007 with a focus on intercultural dialogue. Our NGO initiated in 2018 a learning center for non-Arabic speaking refugee youth. CAWU’s experience in refugee education made it a natural partner, to execute the refugee leadership training project. CAWU sought cooperation with Refuge Egypt of the Anglican Diocese, with the Comboni Fathers and Sisters and the Egyptian Moral Rearmament Association. 


Egypt has been a sanctuary for refugees since ancient times. The Second World War resulted in millions of refugees which in turn led to the creation of the office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1950. Egypt was host to large numbers of refugees following the Second World War and became the first non-European country to allow the UNHCR establish an office on its territory. 


The decolonization of Africa in the 1960s let to new crises. When Africa, a continent with a great and fascinating history, was divided between the European powers in the 19th century, Africa was deeply divided into numerous tribes mostly identified by the diversity in languages that were spoken. Countries were formed, hosting tens of different tribes that had never formed a political unity before the Europeans had arrived. New borders were drawn, often disrespecting existing tribal borders. This has resulted in clashes and (civil) wars that in turn resulted in millions of refugees. The numbers of African refugees in Egypt have been growing in the past decades. The largest groups from sub-Saharan Africa are from Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.


The most important thing we can do in helping refugees in Egypt is through education. The Centre for Arab-West Understanding aims to develop our learning center into a proper school with a license of the Ministry of Education and Cambridge Assessment accreditation which will make this the first school ever in Egypt that will provide refugees with internationally recognized education that will provide opportunities for higher education, teacher training and better job opportunities with a mentality of serving one’s own community. For more information about African refugees in Egypt click here.



June 28, 2021


Cornelis Hulsman,

Principal CAWU-Learning Centre