Educate a Refugee

Change the World

A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 22.5 million refugees around the world, and half of these are children. (1 in 122 people is a refugee).

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reports that 20-30% of refugees live in camps, where conditions are “primitive and unsafe, and people lose hope of finding permanent homes and regaining normalcy.” The average length of stay in a camp is 17 years.

graduates of certificate program

refugee camp

I use the knowledge to handle cases and to teach my community members how to live together and advocate for people most vulnerable — like orphan children or unaccompanied minors.

Refugee Graduate

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), in partnership with Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) and the University of Utah (U of U), is actively helping refugees within camps to improve the quality of their lives through a new joint Distance Learning Bachelor of Social Work program. The program empowers refugees by enabling them to earn a Bachelor’s in Social Work and gain the professional skills to address a wide range of social issues. Graduates become leaders in their communities, working to alleviate poverty, promote peace, and enhance security and stability in the refugee camps and the region.

The program is taught entirely online through the use of Canvas, an interactive distance education platform. Instructors at both SLCC and the U of U provide online courses and support to refugees living in camps who have access to solar-powered computer labs provided by Jesuit Worldwide Learning.

Refugee students participate in online classes with traditional students at SLCC and the U of U, so they are able to learn from each other’s’ experiences and gain valuable global perspectives. Additionally, graduates of this capacity building program are prepared to work with the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and governmental agencies that provide services in the camps to address the needs of all refugees.

By the fall of 2017, we hope to have ten students from a refugee camp in Kenya enrolled in the program. Through your support, we can provide scholarships to cover the tuition costs, which is $4,000 per student. Now more than ever, this education program is vital to alleviating the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever faced.

Please donate today to help educate a refugee and change the world.


Patrick Panos, Ph.D.
Director of Global Education and Outreach,
College of Social Work
University of Utah
395 South 1500 East, Suite # 101
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

Sara Kenney
Development Officer, Scholarships
Salt Lake Community College
4600 South Redwood Rd, AAB 101Q
Salt Lake City, UT 84123

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