The Dadaab camps of Kenya have ‘warehoused’ refugees from Somalia and elsewhere since 1991, providing their inhabitants with little hope to (re)gain the legal rights, participation, and membership that citizenship provides. Refugee youth in Dadaab hope that education can enable their access to citizenship rights—in particular, physical mobility and the right to work. Drawing on ethnographic research, semi-structured interviews, and life history interviews conducted in Dadaab and Mogadishu, this article discusses how refugee youth from Dadaab attempt to challenge their status as non-citizens through secondary education. Our study underscores that achieving citizenship rights, as well as civic participation and belonging, are key aspirations for these young people independent of whether they remain in Dadaab or (re)turn to Mogadishu. Yet, their ideas about what these key aspects of citizenship are and how to achieve them shift with their geographical location and in the presence or absence of citizenship rights.
Aden, Hassan; Abdirahman Edle Ali & Cindy Horst (2023) From Refugees to Citizens? How Refugee Youth in the Dadaab Camps of Kenya Use Education to Challenge Their Status as Non-Citizens, Journal of Refugee Studies. DOI: 10.1093/jrs/fead036.