Qatar Commits USD300,000 for Refugee Education To Overcome Covid-19 Challenges

By UNHCR Malaysia

The State of Qatar has pledged USD300,000 (RM1.2 million) funds in support of educational programmes for refugee students in Malaysia, as a way of helping these children overcome challenges in access to education due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funds will go towards investment into digital infrastructure to improve education for upper primary and secondary students in refugee learning centers under UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The funds will directly benefit at least 1,500 refugee children and youth of all ethnicities, as well as 200 teachers in 69 refugee learning centres in Malaysia.

As part of the funds, 1,500 tablets and 200 pro tablets with its accessories will be distributed to the learning centres by UNHCR through its education NGO partner, Jaringan Rohingya Education Centre (JREC).

(Far right) H.E Fahad bin Mohammed Kafoud, Ambassador of the State of Qatar and Thomas Albrecht, UNHCR Representative (Left) together with some students from a refugee learning centre who received Tablets today to aid in e-learning.

 “The Government of the State of Qatar via Qatar Charity is committed to supporting much-needed and critical intervention in the area of education during the severe COVID-19 pandemic. This will ensure that  refugee students at UNHCR learning centres continue to have access to education during school closures,” said H.E Fahad bin Mohammed Kafoud, Ambassador of the State of Qatar during a ceremony to hand over some of the Tablets to a refugee learning centre.

The Ambassador added, “The Government of the State of Qatar via Qatar Charity is delighted to be able to facilitate access to education, in particular for refugee children.  “We wish to do our part and put in our best effort to help these highly vulnerable people in this meaningful and sustainable way.”

In addition, the Ambassador expresses deep gratitude to the Government of Malaysia for welcoming the initiatives of the Government of the State of Qatar, to assist refugee children and youth to overcome challenges in access to education.

Moreover, 165 tablets with accessories have also been funded to Kiblah Institute to assist Malaysian students to access the educational system.

Also present at the handover today was UNHCR Representative, Thomas Albrecht, who said, “UNHCR learning centres are uniquely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as limitations in resources and connectivity mean that the majority of learning centres are unable to efficiently transition to online learning for their students when schools are closed due to Covid-19.”

Providing connectivity and online learning tools such as tablets, will enable students to access online learning materials and enable teachers to access tools to provide lessons, from home.

“UN figures show that 1.6 billion learners across the world, including millions of refugees, have had their education disrupted as a result of Covid-19. While children in every country have struggled with the impact of COVID-19, refugee children have been particularly disadvantaged,” said Albrecht.

Albrecht recognised the Government of the State of Qatar via Qatar Charity in this crucial effort of keeping refugee children on track in education.

“UNHCR expresses our deepest gratitude to the State of Qatar for its unwavering commitment towards refugee protection and assistance,” said Albrecht.

“Despite the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic, with greater international support to refugees and their host communities, we can expand innovative ways to protect the critical gains made in refugee education over the past years.”

Written by
Yante Ismail
Associate External Relations Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees