For years, a significant gender gap has persisted at all levels of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sector worldwide. While there have been great strides in higher education, women and girls continue to be underrepresented in these fields. In fact, despite the demand for skills in tech fields, globally, women only make up 28 percent of engineering graduates and 40 percent of graduates in computer science and informatics.
From education to vocational training, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency strives to provide opportunities for refugee women and girls around the world— giving them a chance to pursue opportunities in all sectors, including STEM.
On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, meet five resilient refugee women and girls who, with the support of UNHCR, are passionately pursuing their dreams in STEM and inspiring others to do the same.
In 2019, Victoria and her family fled Venezuela and sought refuge in Ecuador. Since then, she has quickly emerged as one of the top students in her class.
When it comes to school, beyond enjoying time with her friends, Victoria has developed a passion for mathematics and problem-solving. In the future, she aspires to become a video game developer, creating educational games for children.
Reflecting on her personal journey as a refugee, Victoria shares an inspiring message for other refugee children: “to other refugee children who have just arrived to [a] new country, I would tell them not to be afraid. You are very special; you are going to meet new people. Never give up.”
For refugees around the world, especially women and girls, access to digital tools and resources are often limited. But, in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Turkana County, Kenya, thanks to the efforts of individuals like Deline Ramiro Yihumutima – a 23-year-old Rwandan refugee – nearly 2,000 refugee students are experiencing a positive change.
Deline serves as the Operations and Partnerships Lead at Solidarity Initiative for Refugees (SIR), a community-based organization established in 2016 by a group of young refugees. SIR’s goal is to use technology to empower refugees in Kakuma by providing them with the skills and tools they need to create a better future for themselves.
In her role, Deline focuses on working with young women and youth, offering them digital education and online opportunities including freelancing and computer programming— which enable them to earn a dignified living.
“I believe in the power of perseverance and the importance of working towards a better future,” says Deline. “No matter the obstacles that may stand in our way."
Nada and Isra
Nada and Isra are two dedicated doctors who used to call the bustling capital city of Khartoum, Sudan, their home. But, their lives took a dramatic turn when conflict erupted in April 2023, forcing them to flee and seek refuge in their grandparents' home in Aljabalain, a city in southeast Sudan.
Despite the conflict and their ongoing displacement, Nada and Isra remain steadfast in their mission to save lives. As medical professionals, they tirelessly continue their vital work, offering essential healthcare services to their neighbors and the wider community in Aljabalain.
Four years ago, Paula fled Venezuela with her family to Ecuador. Despite being able to continue her high school education, she faced challenges in making new friends. But after attending a robotics workshop — something she never thought she could learn — Paula found companionship, hope and developed a newfound love and passion for engineering in her new home of Quito, Ecuador.
How you can help…
By becoming USA for UNHCR’s newest donor you have the incredible opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of refugees. Your support will ensure that they receive the necessary assistance and tools they need to not only navigate their challenging journeys toward safety and stability, but also achieve their dreams.