Sri Lankan Refugee Camp Students
There are around 62,000 Sri Lankan refugees, living in over 107 camps across Tamil Nadu. Among them 18,714 are students. Most of the children living in the camps are new generation born and raised in Tamil Nadu but they are stateless and do not own same rights in education as the local students. Student withdrawal from higher education has risen from 6% to 12% now and the main barriers for continuing education are lack of coaching facilities prior to public exams, lack of English skills, environmental impact of the refugee camps & no proper system in place to support and guide the students. They also do not have access to all courses (mainly health science courses) provided in government colleges as the locals and this is a major contributor to the raise in student withdrawal from education.
Though there is noticeable improvement in the quality of their life with the assistance provided by the Tamil Nadu government, the pathetic condition of the houses, limitation on any movement and limited livelihood opportunities also has a huge negative impact on the psychological aspect of the children living in the camps.
SEEEDS strongly believes on Nelson Mandelas quote that Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. And our aim with the Sri Lankan refugee camp is to provide them with education and enable them to be able to create their own job opportunities. We also provide them with English language coaching if necessary. Our role does not end after paying fees to colleges, every student in SEEEDS is under the tutelage of a mentor who guides them throughout their course and also monitors their progress.
They came as refugees and they live as refugees but if a suitable education is provided to them, they will repatriate to their own country or migrate elsewhere in search of job opportunities. SEEEDS aim is to empower the students through education and jobs and to enable them to contribute to the society they are part of.