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Plan opens schools in Burkina Faso refugee camps

Pupils at a school for refugees, Burkina

Children attending classes at a refugee camp in Burkina Faso

9 August 2012: This week, Plan is helping more than 1,000 child refugees in Burkina Faso to return to school.

With thousands of families having fled Mali due to civil unrest, many children taking shelter in neighbouring countries have been unable to continue their education until now.

Plan has already started delivering a programme of 16 primary school classes and 5 nursery sessions in the Mentao and Damba camps, in Burkina Faso’s Soum Province.

Vital support

Lessons are being run by teachers who are also refugees and residents of the camps, as well as other educators living in the surrounding areas. Plan is providing school staff with further training to ensure they have the tools needed to fully implement the new curriculum in Burkina Faso.

As well as receiving an education, children are able to get school lunches to help them stay healthy and concentrate better at school. Plan is also providing emotional first aid to young people in the refugee camps, so that those in need can access vital support.

Education for life

“Unfortunately, experience shows us that people linger as refugees for decades, unable to return to their countries because of a variety of factors, including lack of security, infrastructure, employment opportunities, and feared persecution. We see this by the high number of temporary camps, established more than 30 years ago in Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, where people continue to live in limbo to this day," says Berenger Berehoudougou, Plan's disaster risk manager in West Africa.

"Plan believes that no matter where children are located, small remote villages or refugee camps, the education they receive stays with them throughout their lives, and helps them become self-sufficient and ready for their future.”

Learn about Plan's West Africa food and refugee crisis appeal.

Find out more about Plan's work in Burkina Faso.