Students, when they leave their country to do an ERASMUS experience, one of the first things they have to look for is accommodation, if possible, close to the host university. The same happens to those young people who have or want to study for a university degree in a different place from their city of birth. In many occasions, it represents an extra effort for the families, who have to pay for these dorms or student housings. Both situations are not exceptional among our young people today. Nor is it that they have enough money to go out for drinks or to go clubbing in their free time.

However, for other young people, this situation of moving from their place of birth in search of education to get a better life becomes a real odyssey. In Mukasanga, near the school, there are the houses of the school teachers and, at the back, far down the main street, there are two huts. Those huts at the back, with no electricity or running water, no doors or windows, which get wet when it rains, are the residences of those students of the school whose families live far away. They cannot move every day and they have to live there. There are two shacks, one for boys and one for girls, a few meters apart. Mattresses on the floor and faded fabrics at the entrance and on the windows are the only decorative elements.

We put ourselves in the shoes of these young people, who leave their parental homes, to go to a hut to try to train to realize the dream of being a nurse, policeman, teacher, doctor, … who helps them when they do not understand something? how do they study if they have no light or computers? what happens to them if they do not pass? do they feel stressed when they take their exams? how do they survive? do they only take the food offered by the school? what do they do when they do not study? do they go out drinking? who takes them to the doctor if they get sick? Many unanswered questions.

Perhaps building a dorm for students in Mukasanga with decent living conditions: their rooms, light, bathrooms, … could be the next project. In this way, in line with the SDGs, we will build a more dignified world in their places of origin. Perhaps many of them will cease to be a “nuisance” or a “problem” in developed countries. We will stop demagoguery, and we will act with small projects, of direct action, to build together the future they want.

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