Youth Aspirations in Exile: Participatory Action Research in the Kakuma Refugee Camp
Professor Michelle Bellino of the University of Michigan’s School of Education examines schooling as a lens into daily experiences of (non)citizenship in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp. Researchers who study how youth navigate precarious openings to education, work, and migration tend to not challenge the systemic inequalities that hold youth back, but instead reinforce Western notions of meritocracy in which only the best students deserve access. Even when these researchers implore the global community for more equitable access to educational opportunities, they rationalize ranking systems that benefit the few to the exclusion of the many. Bellino illustrates how narratives that favor individualized competition are embedded in models of schooling imported from the Western world, and how they impede Kakuma youth from forging a collective identity.