LUSAKA, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Refugee Day on Thursday with the government calling for support in its endeavour to provide education to the refugee population.
Although the global commemoration will be held on June 20, Zambia decided to hold the event on June 18 under the theme "Supporting Refugee Education" while the global theme is "Everyone Can Make a Difference, Every Action Counts".
Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said the government has been providing education to the refugees under the comprehensive Refugee Response Framework whole of society approach to hosting refugees.
While acknowledging that the government has done enough to provide education to the refugees, the Zambian minister called on the international community and other stakeholders for international support.
He said the government was providing free education to the refugees from early childhood and primary level in line with the government's policy and built schools in all refugee settlements.
According to him, education was the primary medium by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children could lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate fully in their communities.
He noted that the refugee pupils have been doing well, adding that for the past four years about 40 refugee pupils at two refugee camps have performed well at senior secondary level but were facing the challenge of accessing tertiary education.
Pierrine Aylara, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Zambia, said access to quality education will enable the refugees to make a difference.
She commended the Zambian government for providing basic rights and services to the refugees and called for support so that the government could do more.
"A critical gap remains which is a robust mobilization of resources by the donor community and development partners to match the commitment demonstrated by the government," she said.
Zambia currently hosts 88,000 refugees.