A Youth with Futile Knowledge
The youth of Western Sahara can study at Universities in Morocco or Algeria, that makes them some of the most well-educated people in exile. But they are only allowed to follow specific courses as well as being discriminated trough their time of study. And after their education they must return to a life under Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara or to Refugee Camps in the Algerian desert. Both places with no prospect of using their knowledge in a job or contributing to their society.

Even though Aziza, Abdi, Mariem, Sidahmed and Rima are born and raised two different places – in occupied Western Sahara and in Sahrawi Refugee Camps – their experiences as Sahrawis are filled with challenges.

Aziza and Mariem are not their real names. They have been changed in order to keep their stories anonymous due to their safety.

Aziza (22) is from occupied Western Sahara. She studies at Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, Morocco.

"We, the Sahrawis, have to pay to get registered for an education at the University. We have to pay to get a job. And if the Moroccan authorities find out that we support a free Western Sahara we will be fired and excluded. That's why I don't dare to say my opinion out loud. Because I am afraid. I am afraid of getting into trouble and to put my family in difficult situations. And I'm afraid of never getting a job."

Abdi Amhamed Omar (31) is from Sahrawi Refugee Camps in Algeria. He studied at Algiers University in Algeria.

"Many Sahrawis graduate with good grades from the University, and still there are no opportunities for them. There is no need for well-educated people in Sahara, in Refugee Camps, so instead they begin to do voluntary work. And people start forgetting
day after day what they have learned in school."

Mariem (30) is from occupied Western Sahara. She studies
at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco.

"Some of the professors are really racist. If they see SH in our identification card, which means we are from Western Sahara, they give us low grades. Just because of us being Sahrawis and not Moroccans. Also, the teachers differentiate our results in relation to job interviews. In that way, we never get a chance to have a job."

Sidahmed Jouly (29) is from Sahrawi Refugee Camps in Algeria. He studied at Chlef University, Algeria.

"I don't blame my parents that we live in the desert, because they were obliged to flee. It's very modest here, and I'm separated from half of my family who still live under the occupation in Western Sahara. But they are not having better lives than me. The oppression, intimidation and unemployment under the Moroccan occupation makes their life difficult."

Rima (20) is from Sahrawi Refugee Camps in Algeria. She studies at Ali Kafi University of Tindouf in Algeria.

"Even though you are graduated from a University you have no money to buy a bottle of water. This is the desert and here we are still dependent on international aid. I would love to have a job. It doesn't have to be what I'm educated in, but just any kind of job. In that way I could imagine a better future."

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