Initiative to Address the Sub 1% University Education of Refugees in Malaysia

Fugee, a refugee-led non-profit organisation, has launched, 'GED Course for Refugee Youth' – a fundraising initiative to empower refugees through education. The campaign aims to raise a total of RM26,500 to help refugee students complete their General Education Diploma (GED).

In doing so, the campaign looks to address the serious concern of further education for refugees with only 16% of refugee children enrolled in secondary education and less than 1% in universities.

Commenting on the initiative, Deborah Priya Henry, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fugee stated, “At Fugee we wholeheartedly believe that the key to brighter futures for refugee children is education. However, in their circumstance this is a lot easier said than done. With the limited education options available to them – the GED is the most realistic shot at success that they have but it is a costly one. We hope the GED Course for Refugee Youth campaign can help refugee children afford the exam and in doing so build a bridge for them to continue to chase better lives from themselves and their loved ones.”

The campaign is being driven through The Incitement – an online CSR and fundraising platform. The platform not only provides an avenue to drive for funds but also gives the public insight into the hopes, challenges and dreams of some of the refugee students in question.

Sharing on his personal experience, Yousuf Mohammed who originated from Yemen said, “I came to Malaysia in 2016, escaping a very difficult situation back in Yemen. It has not been easy adapting here but I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to study and now I am looking to go even further with a GED. I hope to go to university to become a Physiotherapist to help so many that I know who have been affected by injury and disability through movements, exercises and therapy.”

Yousuf is just one of many refugee students in Malaysia who have unique yet equally challenging and inspirational stories of overcoming adversity and striving for a brighter future.

In the 2018/2019 academic year, five refugee students from Fugee successfully completed their GED. By the end of 2019, at least 19 students started higher education through GED and other academic courses.

The GED is a viable alternative for students who are 18 years old and over to certify their completion of secondary education and facilitate their access to university. It is an upper-secondary certificate equivalent to A-level accepted by nearly all universities in the U.S. and many across the world.

“2020 has been tough on all of us but it has been especially difficult for the refugees here – particularly the children. Their limited freedoms and rights were further eroded by the pandemic but now we hope to turn things around. I believe in the giving nature of Malaysians and believe we can come together to support these children in achieving their dreams,” Deborah added.

The GED Course for Refugee Youth initiative is being driven under the newly for