He quickly grew to love school and developed a passion for learning.
Paul’s father was a local tribesman in the village who never went to school. Gaining an education was new for the family and important to Paul.
When he realised he’d out grown what was offered at his school and there wasn’t a secondary school nearby, Paul knew he’d need to leave if he wanted to take his education further.
“Me and my friends decided we needed a better school,” Paul remembers. “We didn’t have money to support our education so we chose to go to a refugee camp.”
Life in the Kakuma Refugee Camp was tough. Paul describes it as a “mixture of pleasure and sadness”. He was delighted with the schooling but poor sanitation and even poorer food distribution made it very hard for Paul and his friends.
“When it rained, food distribution centres remain closed. Sometimes it would rain for several days straight, causing many people to miss out on food for days at a time,” he says.
“You don't have a lot of things in the refugee camp and it's probably like prison because you don't know when you're going to get out. I’ve never been to prison but in the refugee camp you just stay there. You get food but you don’t know when the camp is going to be closed down. You don’t know when the war is going to end. So you just stay there indefinitely,” Paul says.
Of the 19.9 million refugees under care of the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) in 2018, 7.4 million were of school age and access to education was limited with around 4 million of these children unable to attend school. Paul was in the minority and he was able to continue his education at the refugee camp thanks to the UNHCR.
Primary education is the most common level of education for refugees. According to research from UNHCR, 2018 saw a sharp increase in the number of refugees going on to higher education, from 1 to 3 per cent. The global number of people progressing to higher education is 37 per cent.