World Refugee Day

Africa is home to nearly one-third of the world’s refugees and displaced people, with a significant number being young women. At the Foundation, we believe it is impossible to unlock the full economic potential of the continent without harnessing the talents of diverse young people, including refugees and displaced persons.

The Mastercard Foundation seeks to enable 30 million young people, including 2.5 million refugees and displaced persons (RDPs), to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030 as part of its Young Africa Works strategy.

This World Refugee Day, we celebrate the talents and impact of refugees and displaced persons. Here, we listen to the stories of those people.


Read the Impact Stories of Refugees and Displaced Persons Who Are Also Mastercard Foundation Scholars

Amos Kwizera

“There is Nothing Like Impossibility”

Amos Kwizera became a refugee at the age of four when he and his family fled the war in his home country, Congo. They moved from place to place for two years in search of peace. Amos also continued his quest to make a difference in the lives of refugees through education. He joined the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the African Leadership Academy (ALA), after which he enrolled as a Scholar at the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) in Nairobi.

Amos Kwizera: There is Nothing Like Impossibility

Abraham Deng

“The Power of Resilience and Hard Work”

Abraham describes his story as long and difficult. Unfortunately, barely a week after Abraham finished his Senior Four education, war broke out in December 2013, and he was separated from his family, who were living in Bor, while Abraham was living in Yei at the time. With the support of the Red Cross to make phone calls, Abraham reconnected with his family in Kakuma refugee camp. Abraham spent over ten years in a refugee settlement in Uganda.

One fateful day, Abraham received a web link from a friend in Kenya to apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the African Leadership University in Rwanda (ALU-Rwanda). He applied, was selected, and says he is now in a very happy place.

Abraham Deng: The Power of Resilience and Hard Work
Jacob Deng Bol Deng from Earth university

Jacob Deng Bol Deng

“Small Actions: Big Changes”

Jacob Deng Bol Deng (Class of 2025, South Sudan) is 28 years old and comes from the youngest country in the world. When he was born, South Sudan was embroiled in a lengthy war to achieve independence.

The unconditional help of his friend was key in his life. Modeling his friend’s generous help and companionship, Jacob created Education Needs All (ENA), a platform where vulnerable youth from South Sudan – and now all over Africa – can access information about scholarship opportunities inside and outside the continent. Jacob’s application was accepted and he became a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at EARTH and began his journey as a change agent.

Jacob Deng Bol Deng: Small Actions, Big Changes

Resala Rashid Ayoub

“Opportunity knocks twice”

Resala fled Sudan to South Sudan with her family at a young age when war broke out in 2011. She arrived in South Sudan with her siblings and neighbours, where, for six months, she had to fend for herself because there was no one to support her and her siblings, and her parents had not yet arrived.

She heard about African Leadership University, applied, and was selected for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Today, Resala is deeply passionate about education and seeks to address the issue of accessibility for young girls’ education. She does this by helping girls in her community apply for scholarships and providing transition support for those unable to continue their education in the camp.

Resala Rashid Ayoub: Opportunity knocks twice
Image of Bior Leek Ajak

Bior Ajak

“The Importance of Education”

Bior was born in South Sudan during the second phase of the Sudanese civil war. Leaving his family behind, at the age of 10, he would find himself in Kenya as a refugee where he grew up with his great aunt and relatives. He completed both his primary and secondary education in Kenya, after which he emerged as the best male student in his district, during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examinations. This performance won him a spot in the Equity Leaders Program (ELP), where he joined the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) in Nairobi, Kenya. At EGF, he received college counselling and college application support through which he obtained admission and was awarded the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship at McGill University in Canada.

Scholars Voices: The Elephant in the Room

From Camp to Campus: Prisca's Journey to Becoming a Mastercard Foundation Scholar

Watch Three Refugee and Displaced Persons' Stories From EARTH University

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