Education for child refugees

At 7, a civil war led Esther Ngemba and her family to flee their home in the DRC. Today, she’s fighting to provide an education to the 75 million kids currently living in conflict or crisis. In partnership with Global Citizen.

Fleeing violence and seeking refuge

“My life changed in the DRC when I was seven years old. I was sitting outside and my mom had rushed all of us to go inside the house. And on that night, we just started hearing gunshots and nobody knew what was happening. I was seven, I didn't know what was going on, but a civil war had started in the DRC.”

Esther Ngemba and her family had to flee violence and unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006

They spent 5 years in Uganda before immigrating to the U.S. in 2012. Now a student at Cleveland's John Carroll University, she’s a strong advocate for education. She also shares her story to help people understand the price civilians pay for war.

“So many people are very blindsided by war where they don't talk about the civilians of war and the effect the war has on people. So, I'm always ready to jump in and say, ‘Civilians, people are very affected by war. It's something that affects people's mentality and literally destroys the entire future.’ It's just not two countries going at war. It's not just two rebels going to war. It's the people. They're victims of war. And we always have to think about that.”, she tells Brut.

Ngemba’s humanitarian efforts

Ngemba collaborates with Education Cannot Wait which is a humanitarian fund launched in 2016 to address the education needs of the 75 million children living through conflict and crisis. Children in conflict-affected countries are 30% less likely to complete primary school. Forced out of school, they’re more susceptible to violence, trafficking, child labor and marriage. Access to education is critical for peace, health, security, and to escape from extreme poverty. “I knew education was my therapy when I was in Uganda. I couldn't get through everything that I went through if my education was taken away from me.”, she concludes.