Syed Ali Shah :
Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mr. Erwin Policer on Thursday said that around 20,000 Afghan students were studying in UNHCR-funded schools across Balochistan. “UNHCR has provided an access to free education to 20,000 Afghan students in various parts of Balochistan”, he told reporters.
Regarding tertiary education, UNHCR is supporting 86 refugee students through DAFI scholarship program this year, in addition, UNHCR is collaborating with key tertiary education institutions in Balochistan to increase refugees’ access to tertiary education and enhance the discourse on the rights of refugees.
UNHCR supporting three universities in Balochistan
In addition, UNHCR is supporting three leading universities in Quetta, the University of Balochistan (UOB) Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) and Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University (SBK) to further expand access to quality higher education for the refugee students.
He reiterated that Pakistan was facing the burden of Afghan refugees for last more than four decades. “Pakistan continues to face the burden of 1.4 million Afghan refugees”, Aron Polikar told reporters.
World Refugee Day to be observed on June 20th
He said world refugees day would be observed on June 20th in Quetta like in other parts of the globe. Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for last more than four decades since the USSR troops invaded neighboring Afghanistan.
Mr. Aron Polikar stated that Pakistan has rendered great sacrifices while hosting millions of Afghan refugees for decades. When asked about the difficulties faced by Afghan refugees in Islamabad in the aftermath of the Taliban’s take over of Afghanistan, he said UNHCR was well aware of their difficulties and a delegation from Geneva has reached Islamabad recently. He said the delegation would review the difficulties of Afghan refugees residing in Islamabad.
UNHCR spending 220 million US dollars under RAHA
Referring to UNHCR’s initiatives in Balochistan, he stated that in the RAHA program, 220 million US dollars were being spent on various projects to support the Afghan refugees. “Work is underway on 4,260 different development projects worth US 12 million, benefiting more than 12 million people”, he mentioned.
He informed that UNHCR has provided skill training to 4000 Afghan refugees from 2014 to 2021 in various sectors to enable them to support their families.