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Mauritania: a 360° view from the Mbera refugee camp

In partnership with The European Commission
Mauritania: a 360° view from the Mbera refugee camp
By Monica Pinna
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Aid Zone's Monica Pinna finds out about the work being carried out by humanitarian aid workers for Malian refugees at the Mbera camp in Mauritania.


The Mbera camp in south-east Mauritania is the only camp in the country to provide shelter and education for Malian refugees. In this 360° video, Aid Zone's Monica Pinna finds out about the work being carried out by humanitarian aid workers with the support of the European Union's Humanitarian Aid Department.

There are more than 55,000 Malian refugees at the Mbera camp. 58 per cent of those are children.

"What's the best way to protect them from abuse, from child marriage and even from being recruited from armed groups? It's education," says Monica Pinna, Euronews.

Around 300 children attend secondary school here at Mbera. Until a new school is built with EU Humanitarian Aid funds, lessons are currently being held in a tent. Classes follow the Malian education programme and include Arabic.

Real need for experienced teachers

Finding experienced teachers is one of the biggest challenges for the UNHCR and UNICEF, which coordinate education in the camp.

"I studied in Mali. I came out of a teacher training institute. I specialised in Maths, physics and chemistry, level two," says Mohamed, a teacher at the camp.

Around 6,000 students are receiving an education at Mbera out of a total of 20,000 children of school age.The teachers have to cope with students who have been traumatised, or who have simply had gaps in their schooling.

“They are not normal students because they spent many many years...they didn’t study very well in Mali because they were hiding in the bush, so they came right from the camps. We are here to teach them as much as possible,” explains Mohamed Ali Aghattaye, an English teacher.

The thirst for learning

Accompanied by Viola Bruttomesso from the UNHCR, Monica visits a first-year class. The children are 6-years-old. The children are learning the alphabet and basic maths in French. All are eager to learn, a readiness that doesn't always last long-term. As a result, more and more effort is now focused on helping primary school students' continue their studies. Last year almost 2,000 students didn't' show up at the primary school exam and the success rate for those who did take it was more than 60 per cent.

This video was shot with a GoPro Fusion

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