Helping Soweto students carry on with their lives

Following the June 1976 Soweto riots between black youths and the South African authorities, thousands of students fearing arrest and ill-treatment sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

With the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) support, student refugees received professional counselling, scholarships and subsistence help. Assisted by UNHCR, Lesotho allowed South African student refugees to be accommodated in educational institutions in order to carry on with their education.

Two decades later, as apartheid ended, UNHCR started a voluntary repatriation programme and helped the South African government with the return of refugees and political exiles.

UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.

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