Friday, 20 April 2012

Utilising the skills and qualifications of urban refugees

Some key findings from the Women’s Refugee Commission Report, No Place to Go But Up – Urban Refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa, show that the existing skills amongst urban refugees in Johannesburg could be utilised to potentially lift them out of poverty.
‘Forced migrants, compared to South Africans, are more likely to be vulnerable to poverty and violence […] Education levels and skill sets vary among the different forced migrant groups. Many Zimbabwean migrants have good English language skills and education, but most are found in unskilled labor: service industries, construction, painting, welding and carpentry. Forced migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) appear to be predominately young, urban, male and educated. Many, even those with specialized skills, work in unskilled or low-skilled work: street vending, braiding hair or washing or guarding cars. Somali asylum seekers and forced migrants are predominately young and urban; most have completed primary or secondary school, and several own businesses.’
You can download the full report here.

What do you think?

If existing skills of urban refugees are not being utilised, can increased access to education in such settings provide a path out of poverty?

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