Homes Away from Home: Virtual Visits to GEM sites in Kenya and Lebanon

SNHU GEM learners Mohamed and Nour share what daily life is like in Tripoli and Kakuma.

ince its launch in 2017, SNHU’s Global Education Movement (GEM) has scaled to operate across 10 sites and five countries—Rwanda, Lebanon, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya—serving nearly 1,700 learners and graduates directly in the camps and urban areas where they live.

 While each of our sites and day-to-day lives of students look different, we wanted to share two “virtual visits” to provide a better idea of what it’s like to be a GEM student, living, working, and pursuing higher education as a displaced learner. 


Nour Maaz: GEM graduate in Tripoli, Lebanon

Originally from Aleppo, Syria, Nour Maaz lives and works in Tripoli, Lebanon. She recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management from SNHU GEM.

 In addition to her passion for healthcare, Nour is also a founding member of Siriforce, where her personal experience of learning and working remotely informs her approach to connecting refugees to the global workforce. Nour is the first member of her family to earn a degree.

 “Although Tripoli, Lebanon is not my home country, it helped me to grow and become a successful young woman,” Nour said. “The challenges of living here, my growth out of childhood, and the new focus I gained are all an important part in this chapter of my life.”


Mohamed Hassan Mohamud: GEM student in Kakuma, Kenya

Like many of its residents, GEM student Mohamed Hassan Mohamud has called Kakuma home for more than 20 years. As a member of a new generation of refugee leadership in Kakuma, Mohamed is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree from SNHU GEM to create the change he wants to see in the world for himself, his young daughter, and the global community of refugees.

 Mohamed is on a mission to transform the world’s approach to refugees by being a voice for the often voiceless and invisible. His 2019 speech at the World Economic Forum challenged world leaders to change prevailing narratives about refugees.

 “For a lot of refugees, that will to survive and that drive to succeed is based on education,” Mohamed said. “Because nobody can rob you of what is in your mind.”


Note: As Kenya’s Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps face potential closure, SNHU GEM will ensure students have uninterrupted access to GEM scholarships and support. Read more in our statement of support for our Kakuma students, families, and community.