Alumni Stories






“Education enlightens. Education frees. Education restores hope,”  says Peter, who has been living in Dzaleka Refugee camp, Malawi, for the past ten years. The conflict that has been plaguing the Democratic Republic of Congo claimed his family. He applied for the Diploma programme because he wanted to serve his community but found he did not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to do this.  

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Shaker began the our Peace Leader programme at Domiz Camp in summer 2018 but has been a change-maker and involved in peace-fostering initiatives for some time. A Syrian Kurdish refugee, he believes that “people in the Middle East, they no longer want war in the region” and that youths are longing to return and rebuild the community.

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Joyce, from Rwanda, had long dreamt about an opportunity to further her education. She has been living in Malawi’s Dzaleka refugee camp. As a mother of five children it was challenging but with her husband’s support, JWL’s flexibility, and being able to leave her children at JRS’ day-care centre, she finally completed the JWL Diploma programme in summer 2018. This, she finds, is “a testimony of courage, hard work and determination” on her part.

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Meet Neman, one of JWL's recent graduates from the Diploma in Liberal Studies programme.  Read his story in his own words.

"JWL gave me the opportunity to teach what I have learned to the people of my community. It helped me to transfer my thoughts and values. Teaching, once a great dream to me, came true. From teaching I learnt a lot, a great deal of moral, social, and personal issues; I realised that dedication to a great cause like that of teaching is an honour and a privilege. I changed a lot of my previous conventional mind-set and I became more open-minded. It helped me to become person who has big dreams, universal ideas, wiser thoughts and working for a greater good. I internalised the very concept of JWL -  'Transform Thinking, Transform the World'. "


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Galdo fled his native South Sudan due to civil strife and persecution. He has been living in Kakuma, Kenya, since end of 2004.

In Kenya, he managed to complete his primary education and in 2013, he also obtained his Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Two years went by without any viable opportunities for Galdo to further pursue his education. Finally, in 2015, he was able to start the JWL Community and Development Business course and went on to complete the Primary Teacher Training course. Not only iis he an Alumni but also a current student in the Diploma Program.

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"You could be the CEO of your own tech company one day,” Remy says, speaking to a group of wide-eyed young women gathered shoulder to shoulder around his single laptop. Remy Gakwaya, a refugee from Burundi, is one of hundreds of community members to have received a university certificate from Higher Education at the Margins (HEM) Dzaleka, an institute of higher education in Malawi’s Dzaleka Refugee Camp jointly implemented by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL).

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Keeping Hope Alive: 20 Years A Refugee

As a graduate of the Diploma in Liberal studies I was the first recipient of a Jesuit Worldwide Learning Higher Education at the Margins (JWL) Scholarship.   This scholarship enabled me to further my education here in the city of Nairobi in Kenya, Africa.  

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Suad Mohammed can attest to the difficulties young girls face in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, Africa.  Suad was the first female Headmaster of Horsheed School and brought more girls into the school than any others before her. What she learned in the JWL Diploma classes, she made sure to incorporate within the school to help train her teachers. She is now resettled in the US and working towards her dream to become a nurse at Columbus State Community College.


Some alumni use their creative talents to help their community.  Tresord was a student in the CSLT program for Performing Arts and Peace and Conflict Resolution. With the help of 40 JWL student volunteers he created and organizes the yearly Tumaini Festival, a weekend arts and cultural festival held once a year.  The last festival was held in the Dzaleka Refugee camp, attracting Malawians and foreigners to the performances.  He stated, “JWL has opened more doors for refugees here in Dzaleka. When JWL came, the organization helped us to connect to the world.”