Meet Daniel, Lead Coordinator for Sky School in Kakuma Camp. Find out what motivates Daniel about Sky School, and why refugee youth need a changemaker education.

29 August, 2017

Daniel is from Burundi and came to Kakuma Camp in 2009, where he completed a three year diploma programme specialising in business. Daniel, who holds a staunch belief in the value of knowledge for self-empowerment, found a means to continue his education even further, through completing a variety of online courses and certifications, including in social innovation. His dedication to supporting refugee voices has seen him work with UNHCR as an interpreter, to facilitate a centre where other young refugees can access online educational courses, and to found URISE Initiative for Africa, a community-based organisation which seeks to empower young refugees to engage in and lead social development for their community.

While many young people attend secondary education in Kakuma, infrastructural and developmental issues like overcrowded classes, limited teacher training, and a lack of learning materials, means that it is extremely difficult for young people to get the education they need to succeed beyond high school. When a friend sent Daniel a link to Sky School’s website, he was really struck by the idea. He then reached out to Mia and Polly, the Co-founders of Sky School, and asked whether it would be possible to bring the Sky School programme to the Kakuma camp.

Daniel was especially attracted by the change-making focus of the educational programme, as he feels that all young African refugees need, is self-empowerment and training, for skills like social entrepreneurship and business, innovation and change-making. He believes this will enable young people to solve their own problems; to make the change they want to see in the refugee community and in their home country.

Daniel is now the Lead Facilitator for Sky School in Kakuma camp, which will be one of the first physical hubs for the Sky School programme. There will be a centre where students have a space to complete courses and assignments, have access to tablets and computers, and where those with smartphones can access the internet to download programme content. Daniel will facilitate the in-person sessions and guide the students in their learning.  It will also act as a social hub for group work and peer support, and he hopes that they might facilitate meetings in different communities to allow people to access support more easily.

The response to the Sky School programme among the community in Kakuma has been overwhelmingly positive, with people getting in contact with Daniel to express their interest after hearing about it from others. Daniel believes that Sky School is the first educational initiative of its kind to put a human-centred approach and emphasis on youth self-empowerment at the heart of all its work. Daniel sees the Sky School programme as a supporting system which will boost students’ grades, self-dependence, and change-making capacity.

Daniel believes that young people’s empowerment is imperative in making positive changes for themselves, their communities, and their countries, and believes that Sky School’s focus on  is all building young people’s capacity in creating, developing and collaborating are the skills young refugees need to make positive social and political change, and contribute to their community and country.

Daniel sees huge potential for the Sky School programme across many African countries and refugee communities. As Sky School grows, he feels that this will be hugely encouraging and motivating for young refugees, and will send a message that ‘Yes! Refugees can!’ Daniel envisions a future where young refugees can identify problems in their communities and home countries, generate ideas, and get feedback from and involve the community in problem-solving and development. He believes Sky School will make this a reality for young refugees across many African countries.

This article is based on an interview between Emerimana Daniel Christian and Frances Howell.

If you, like Daniel are interested in establishing a Sky School hub in your community, please get in touch on