Right To Play Kicks Off Project Supporting Burundian Refugee Girls’ Right to Education

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TORONTO, CANADA, Feb 19, 2021 - Right To Play is announcing the launch of the My Education, My Future (MEMF), a new program that will improve access to education for girls and children with disabilities who have become refugees due to ethnic violence in Burundi.

Working in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), MEMF will improve access to and the quality of education for 48,000 primary school-aged girls by building their life-skills, resilience, and social cohesion using playful learning. The program is possible thanks to the support of the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada.

“COVID-19 has created a global education crisis, threatening children’s learning and development – especially girls. With 20 million girls in danger of dropping out of school permanently due to the pandemic, we must take action to ensure girls can return to and continue their studies,” said Susan McIsaac, CEO of Right To Play International. “The My Education, My Future program will empower Burundian girls so they can realize their right to an education, attend school, graduate, and create brighter futures for themselves.”

Since 2015, more than 400,000 refugees have fled Burundi for camps in Tanzania. Girls in these camps face significant barriers to quality education. A lack of female teachers, appropriate latrines, and menstrual hygiene supplies combine with fears of sexual violence and gender-based discrimination to keep nearly half of girls out of school. Children with disabilities face even greater barriers in accessing education. Schools in the camps also struggle to accommodate girls and boys with disabilities. They lack both suitable infrastructure for children with mobility issues and adequate training and resources to accommodate children with cognitive or sensory challenges.

The My Education, My Future program will work with teachers to create safe and nurturing environments where girls and children with disabilities can learn through the adoption of gender-responsive and play-based teaching and curriculum. The project will also provide mental health and psychosocial support to girls through mentorship, school clubs, and games, empowering them to build confidence and overcome barriers to education.

As part of the Government of Canada’s Charlevoix G7 commitment to ensure that all refugee and displaced children can realize their right to education, Global Affairs Canada pledged CAD $6.6 million in funding for the project in July 2019. Read the announcement here. Project implementation began December 2020, in refugee camps in Tanzania and returnee communities in Burundi.

Right To Play has 20 years of experience working with the unique challenges of refugee children in several countries around the world using play to help children cope with the grief, trauma, and displacement of conflict. We have promoted peace and tolerance in Burundi since 2008, using sports and other forms of play to encourage dialogue and break down stereotypes between children from different ethnic groups.


Media contact: Christina Palassio, Acting Global Director, Marketing and Communications, cpalassio@righttoplay.com, 416-302-1123.

Right To Play is a global organization that protects, educates and empowers children to rise above adversity through the power of play. We reached 12 million children around the world last year through in person and remote methods in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth to help them stay in school and graduate, resist exploitation and overcome prejudice, prevent disease, and heal from war and abuse. For more information, visit www.righttoplay.com