Elimisha Kakuma

Our Program

Elimisha Kakuma ("Educate Kakuma" in Swahili) is an intensive university-preparatory program designed to provide opportunities for high school graduates in Kakuma Refugee Camp. The program will help students prepare for university-level content and apply for university scholarships, thereby making higher education accessible. Founded by Kakuma's own, Elimisha believes that when students are provided with access to higher education, they are more likely to create a larger impact by empowering families and changing communities for the better.

Academic Preparation

Elimisha Kakuma prepares students for university-level content in English by using a blended method targeting proficiency in the four language domains (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and later, exam preparation.

Students study in both a virtual setting, with online assignments and classes, and an on-site setting where they work together under the guidance of an on-the-ground facilitator who provides technical and logistical support. Students are also supported by university tutors from Virginia Tech and Macalester College.

Elimisha Kakuma students working in class.
A group photo of the Elimisha Kakuma

Community Building

Elimisha Kakuma students work together to support each other in improving academically and personally throughout the program.

In addition, they work together to improve their communities through community service. Many of our students are teachers in schools in Kakuma Refugee Camp. They volunteer their time developing their communities through education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.


Students participate in one on one mentorship with current university students, including three of our co-founders who have lived in Kakuma. They receive coaching, guidance and consistent meetings with their mentors. The mentors were once in the students position, and provide both guidance and a relatable experience that guide the cohort. This part of the program strengthens the faith that students have in Elimisha, and helps students navigate the application process without fear of having to do it alone, and knowing someone else in their position did it too. The mentorship program also prepares the students for college life, how to be organized, get work done on time, seek help where needed, navigate college readings and become a good student in general.

Dudi taking a selfie with the students.
A photo of the students and Diing on Zoom.

College Counseling

Students receive support in navigating the complex college application process and financial aid requirements.

Students are assisted in building their applications and gathering required documentation, receive feedback and support on their personal statement, and are supported in their applications for financial aid.