Tibo Rogers, Australia for UNHCR Frontliner and former refugee
For seven years Tibo Rogers and his family were on the run, fleeing escalating fighting in Sierra Leone. Against the odds, and thanks to UNHCR, Tibo managed to secure a secondary education, and a future.
“The only reason I am alive today is because of the kindness my father showed a stranger. It was April 1991 and my family and I were living in a small village called Bandajuma. It was a very happy and safe place to grow up, where every child belonged to the whole community. One night, a stranger came knocking on our door. My father offered the man a glass of water. The next day our village was hit, but this very same stranger, a rebel now in full military gear, spared our lives in appreciation for my father’s small act of kindness.
For the next seven years we were on the move, as conditions in Sierra Leone deteriorated. We fled from one place to the next, constantly fearing for our lives. I saw things no boy should see. I somehow escaped to neighbouring Guinea and with four other boys I continued on to Ghana. It was only then, when we were handed over to UNCHR officials and registered in Krisan Refugee Camp, that I finally felt safe.
Despite everything that had happened, I still wanted to go to school. My fierce determination to finish my education moved the UNHCR officers, and eventually they found a place for me in a secure secondary school. For seven years I was in that camp I worked hard at my studies. When I was eventually resettled, I was able to go to university and study International Relations. I can’t thank UNHCR enough for giving me the opportunity to learn. When I first arrived in Ghana I had no hope. UNHCR gave me hope gave me hope by educating me. I feel so very fortunate.”
UNHCR believes education is a basic human right. Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity and helps communities build a better future. More than a third of refugee children don’t go to school. The education Tibo received thanks to UNHCR is the reason why he is now such a passionate advocate of the organisation’s work. He is using his enthusiasm to support our Australia for UNHCR Frontliner Teams and encourage new donors to fund our humanitarian programs.