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Rwanda to take in Afghan refugee students

Rwanda is set to welcome refugee students fleeing Afghanistan, officials confirmed Wednesday, making it the second African country to host Afghan refugees after Uganda.

The news was announced through a tweet by Shabana Basij-Rasikh, the president and co-founder of the Afghanistan Leadership School (SOLA), indicating that Afghanistan’s only boarding school for girls is moving all 250 of its students, faculty, staff, and family members to the East African nation to continue their education for the coming months.

“As announced earlier by the Ministry of Education, we welcome the SOLA community to Rwanda. We are respecting their request for privacy so there will be no further comments at this time,” Rwanda’s Education Ministry told Anadolu Agency in a short statement.

Since last week, reports indicated that all the students, professors, management staff, and family members affiliated with the school had left Kabul, following the capture of the capital Kabul by the Taliban.

Initially, they will be hosted for a semester, Basij-Rasikh said.

While the date of arrival has not been disclosed, Basij-Rasikh added that all the evacuees are already on their way to Rwanda after transiting through Qatar.

“So many people played a key role in our departure, and while I cannot thank all of you here, I would like to publicly express my gratitude to the governments of Qatar, Rwanda and the United States for their essential assistance,” Basij-Rasikh wrote on Twitter.

“When circumstances on the ground allow, we hope to return home to Afghanistan. For now, I’m asking for privacy for our community.”

Rwanda hosts some 135,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees in various camps in the country who depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs, according to the UN.

Rwanda has committed to ensuring that all refugees get valid refugee identity cards and that 100% of refugee students enroll in secondary schools and 50% in primary schools.

According to the US State Department, Rwanda is one of 13 countries that have agreed to temporarily receive the evacuated Afghans.

On Wednesday, Uganda announced that it had received the first group of 51 evacuees from Afghanistan, including men, women, and children.

Last week, Uganda said it would host 2,000 Afghans and other nationals fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban captured Kabul.

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