Partner Spotlight: Jesuit Refugee Service

In partnership with SNHU GEM, JRS Kenya’s Pathfinder program provides refugees with avenues to higher education and employment.

Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) partners with existing in-country organizations in Africa and the Middle East to deliver high-quality education and wrap-around services for SNHU students, including individualized coaching, academic support and career counseling. 

In Kenya, SNHU GEM partners with the Jesuit Refugee Service Kenya (JRS Kenya). Its JRS Pathfinder program was designed to respond to the need for employment, income generation, and satisfying career paths for young refugees. Together, SNHU GEM and JRS Pathfinder link higher education opportunities with professional training, and employment pathways.

Mary Nyaluak Lam, JRS Pathfinder’s first SNHU GEM graduate, described her time in the program as a “life-changer.” Growing up amidst ongoing violence in South Sudan and then as a refugee in Nairobi, Kenya, she was often unable to attend school. “I remember not going to school for two semesters simply because of the lack of fees,” Mary recalls. 

Despite these difficulties, Mary graduated from high school and searched for ways to continue her education. She had almost given up when she discovered JRS Kenya’s Pathfinder program and an avenue forward through SNHU GEM. JRS Pathfinder members can enroll at SNHU GEM to earn their bachelor’s degree while participating in career-development workshops and internships that offer the professional tools they need to earn a living, support their families, and strengthen their communities. 

As a member of the very first SNHU GEM cohort at JRS Kenya, Mary not only earned her bachelor’s degree, but invaluable professional training. “I am more competitive in the job market based on the skills that I acquired from the programme, which has a huge impact not only on me but on the skillset that I bring to my workplace,” she explains.

Equipped with her SNHU GEM degree and professional training, Mary was confident in her ability to land a job. Her years of hard work and dedication soon paid off when she was offered a full-time position at a leading South Sudan gas and oil company – an incredible opportunity for a new graduate. “The SNHU GEM degree programme taught me to be a good thinker and the type of individual that sees every aspect of life positively.” 

Read more about SNHU GEM’s work with JRS Kenya in the recently-released Jesuit Refugee Service Kenya 2021 Annual Report.