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Kenyetta University, Kenya’s second largest university, based in Nairobi, recently announced that it will be setting up a campus in Dadaab, home to the world’s largest refugee camp. The camps in Dadaab house over 450,000 Somali refugees, and many have lived there from 10 to 15 years. Some were even born in the camp. Tertiary education has long been out of reach for most refugees living in the camp, but under the new Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, “two-thirds of its places are allocated for refugees, with the rest earmarked for locals.” Thus, the new program benefits both residents of the refugee camps and the native population, in addition to increasing integration between the two groups. Currently, 70 percent of children living in the camp do not have access to any kind of education. [Guardian]

Though it has long been viewed as a magnet for white retirees, Florida is also the state with the nation’s largest refugee population. Over the past five years, the state has resettled over 137,000 refugees from almost 100 different countries. Thus, longtime residents of the state, especially those living in Tampa and Miami, have had to adjust to new Florida demographics. Organizations like First Baptist Church of Temple Terrace are now hosting services in Chinese and Burmese, in addition to English. Mark Mather, a demographer with the Washington D.C based Population Reference Bureau, said “we’re at this unique period in history where we have all these baby boomers that are retiring and all the high levels of immigration that we’ve had for decades have increased diversity among young families.” Today’s Florida, he says, “is kind of a test case as to whether or not these groups can actually make it work.”  [Tampa Bay Online]

As the Iraqi refugee population in America continues to grow, Iraqi women from a wide variety of faith backgrounds and social norms are finding leadership opportunities, and are working together to develop their communities. While in Iraq, few women are able to work in leadership positions, but in the suburbs of Boston, Iman Shati, a conservative Shiite Muslim, and Ayfer Abed Aljabar, a liberal Sunni Muslim, have both launched new community associations and centers this past year. In fact, “working separately but in common cause together, they’ve helped dozens of Iraqi refugee families, challenge conventional wisdom about Muslim women and overcome doubters.” Shati’s Iraqi & Arab Community Association and Aljabar’s Iraqi American Community Center work to provide social services to Iraqi populations, but also to educate Americans on Iraqi and greater Arab culture. Over the past year, both women estimate they have worked with about 50 families, or about 150 people. According to Shati, nearly half the families she worked with were living in shelters. Thanks to the efforts of these women’s agencies, however, the diverse local Iraqi community has been able to grow and flourish.  [Washington Post]

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