Refugee education in Cairo: a family affair

St. Andrew's Refugee Services | November 7, 2016

Rhianna, left, with her brother Rafael. Photo courtesy StARS.

Rhianna, left, with her brother Rafael. Photo courtesy StARS.

CWS partners with St. Andrew’s Refugee Services – also known as StARS – in Cairo to provide a number of services and opportunities to the city’s refugee population. Among those programs is the Children’s Education Program. The following is an excerpt from the StARS newsletter about that program.

StARS has always thought of itself as a family, and for good reason. Earlier this year, Rhianna graduated from the Montessori pre-school program and entered grade one of the Children’s Education Program, quickly finding her feet and settling in well. It is of no surprise, as for Rhianna, StARS has always been a family affair.

In 2004, her mother arrived from Sudan and began school at StARS. Now a graduate of our school, she is at university in Cairo, studying sociology and looking to work as a social worker. Rhianna’s aunt is also a StARS alumna, graduating in 2014, and is applying for university in Cairo. The list goes on. Rhianna’s brother Rafael, aged 10, is thriving in grade four and Rhianna and Rafael’s grandmother has become a familiar face here at StARS, teaching knitting in the Montessori pre-school.

StARS is proud to have welcomed their family to join ours, and provided the support and opportunities to ensure generations of Rhianna’s family receive an education.  Along with Rhianna and Rafael, a total of 254 children attend school at StARS and 17 more are enrolled in the Montessori Preschool.  Without StARS, these children might not have access to education in Cairo.

Rhianna is particularly special to us, laying new ground for StARS. As one of our first graduates from the Montessori program, she has the opportunity to be one of the first StARS graduates to receive education from age three all the way through to 18. She epitomizes the StARS family, and we look forward to seeing her reach for great heights in the footsteps of her family, and the rest of the StARS family that came before her.