“On behalf of the refugee communities, I want to convey my gratitude for your tireless efforts of ensuring refugee students such as me have the opportunity to advance education and sharpen up their technical skills which are undoubtedly a gateway to refugee empowerment and their family socio-economic development. Without a doubt, your efforts have been crucial in realizing global refugee educational targets such as that of 15 by 30 that is, ensuring at least 15% of refugee students have access to quality tertiary education by 2030”, – says John Monychirin Madong, Community Coordinator at Techfugees Kenya.
Helping displaced people to grow and discover untapped talent is one of the Techfugees` goals. We are thrilled to see when it happens. Today we are happy to share one more story that once again confirms that refugee status can`t stop one from succeeding the life goals.
“Greetings to you all, My Name is John Monychirin Madong, a South Sudanese nationality, an Information Technology specialist with a diverse background in academia, leadership, and advocacy currently living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. I have pursued a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology under the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) scholarship program facilitated by Windle International Kenya (WIK) and Working with Techfugees as Community Coordinator.
On behalf of the refugee communities, I want to convey my gratitude for your tireless efforts of ensuring refugee students such as me have the opportunity to advance education and sharpen up their technical skills which are undoubtedly a gateway to refugee empowerment and their family socio-economic development. Without a doubt, your efforts have been crucial in realizing global refugee educational targets such as that of 15 by 30 that is, ensuring at least 15% of refugee students have access to quality tertiary education by 2030.
A brief of my life, nine years ago, I was forced to leave my home country South Sudan where I had to flee to Kakuma refugee camp due to insecurity and in search of better education opportunities. Ever since my life has been that of a forcefully displaced person in this beautiful and magical country (Kenya). Despite the obstacles I have faced as a refugee, the journey has been quite worthwhile and good enough, I today write to express my gratitude and motivation for the success I have achieved with this year’s World Refugee theme “HOPE AWAY FROM HOME”
Fortunately, my thirst for education did not come to an end when I got admitted to Green Light secondary school in 2014. I had the passion and enthusiasm to succeed in my academics regardless of some challenges I encountered which I will not dive into details. This passion helped me gain a profound knowledge which I completed high school in 2016 as a top student in the National examination at our school. I was admitted to the University of my Dream to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology after being awarded the DAFI scholarship program implemented by Windle International Kenya (WIK) and UNHCR to further my tertiary education. My interest in taking up a career in the technology field is driven by my desire to bring a transformative change in the technology field since the global world is moving into the digital space of new emerging technologies. However, my country is far way behind in technology usage, and I would like to champion my fellow youths to dive into my career to make a better world. I would also want to bring digital solutions to problems faced by refugees and displaced people, therefore, creating a positive impact.
Before my academic pursuits, I volunteered and worked with NGOs supporting refugees in the Kakuma refugee camp. I have served as a teacher with Windle International Kenya and worked as a Community Hygiene Promoter with the Norwegian Refugee Council during Covid-19 pandemic.
I have supplemented my tech practical experiences as an ICT Intern at Nakuru County Government’s Department of ICT and E-government, Google IT Support systems certification through a Google scholarship and the CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) from NetworkWalks. Currently I work as Information Technology Coordinator at Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL), where I manage the organization’s IT operations. Today I feel proud of what I achieved out of my hard work, resilience and determination to be focused on my goal because my identity as a Refugee status hasn’t stopped me from succeeding my goals in life.
For the past three years, I have worked as Community Coordinator at Techfugees Kenya, an organization focused on supporting the inclusion of displaced people through tech solutions. I have actively contributed to the implementation of projects aimed at advancing digital livelihoods for refugees, including skill development, connectivity initiatives, and micro-enterprise programs. My aspiration and goal as I joined Techfugees as Community Coordinator was my desire to serve refugees and displaced people, becoming their voice and mentor as they access various services such as quality Education, technical skills in the tech and business field.
In 2022, I represented Techfugees in a workshop on staying safe while working online, organized by the University of Edinburgh and UNHCR Innovation Service where I shared insights on the digital risks faced by refugees and strategies to overcome them, amplifying the voices of refugees.
Techfugees has helped me to showcase my leadership potential and advocacy as I was a keynote speaker at the Danish Refugee Council 2021 global forum, representing Techfugees and discussing the impact of the Google digital spark program on the lives of displaced individuals. I have also participated as a panelist at the UNICEF Global Forum – Talent on the Move Global Forum in 2022, where I discussed how Techfugees Kenya promotes youth equity and equal educational opportunities for mobile youths.
My work and dedicated commitment to community service through Techfugees, was recognized as I received an invitation to attend DAFI Annual Conference 2023 as an Alumnus to mentor and share experiences with scholars in the program with theme of “Mentorship – Transforming Generations”.
My exposure into the digital space and community service through Techfugees got me selected to join Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI) 2023 program where I am currently an alumnus in which I received training, mentorship, and empowerment in areas such as civic leadership, public management, business, and entrepreneurship with goal to bring transformative change to Africa (THIS IS AFRICA & AFRICA IS OUR BUSINESS). The program helped me start my initiative called Alsafar Tours Company which is a business initiative that supports sustainable eco-tourism, integration and inclusion of refugees in tourism sector.
Through Participating in international forums and conferences, I aim to address challenges faced by refugees and displaced youths in access to education and employment. Statistically, 1/3 of refugees have access to secondary education in Kenya, and less than 1/6 have access to tertiary education, including technical and vocational education and training (UNHCR data).
The International conferences and Forums I have attended have helped me built my profile, strengthen my global network with like-minded people, develop my personal growth in addressing issues faced by refugees, and I have impacted refugee youths through mentorship.