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Education is an assurance of future for refugee girls

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Finn Church Aid (FCA) promotes access to quality education, particularly for girls and young women in Uganda's refugee settlements.

Education is a human right. It is essential to the acquisition of knowledge. More than that, education makes us more resilient and independent individuals. Finn Church Aid (FCA) promotes access to quality education, particularly for girls and young women in Uganda's refugee settlements.

Education can have a life-changing consequences for girls especially. Girls like Anthias Poni Oliver.\ When violence broke out in her homeland, Anthias and her family were among thousands of South Sudanese who escaped to Uganda in search of safety and peace. Anthias lives in Palorinya refugee settlement in Moyo District, Uganda.

However, like so many girls with refugee background, it has been a struggle for Anthias to stay in school. While still in secondary school, she got pregnant and had to drop out of school for a while.

"Anthias' father refused to take her back to school after finding out she got pregnant and had terminated the pregnancy. He told her to stay home and forget about school," says Juru Cicilia, Anthias' mother.\ "I was sad because I loved school and knew I would not be able to complete my studies," says Anthias herself.

Helping refugee girls stay in school

Education equips girls like Anthias with the skills they need to unlock their potential. Finn Church Aid ensures safe, inclusive schools with quality teaching for everyone with support from the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrations (PRM). FCA creates safe, environmentally friendly learning environments and school structures.

"With the support of Finn Church Aid, I was enrolled in Idiwa secondary school to complete my studies. My favourite subjects are Christian religious education and mathematics," Anthias adds.

Making a study plan and managing her schedules, a skill she learned during a career guidance session, made her improve on her studies and catch up on lost time.

"Before I used to only read my books at school, but now I revise at home especially on weekends. This has really improved my learning."

"They also give me school materials, soap and menstrual hygiene kits, and during the reproductive health lessons they teach us how to use the menstrual kits."

Dreaming of future

Education is important to Anthias because it will create employment opportunities for her in the future. She hopes to be a doctor when she finishes school.

"I have seen many people in my area self-medicating and some have ended up dying. I want to become a doctor so I can be able to give them proper treatment," she says.

Anthias's inspiration is Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela's wife.

"She was very hard working and never lost hope even when the husband was in prison. I hope to be like her."

Text: Linda Kabuzire