2013 : Creation of the NGO and the UniRef mission as a public utility.
2014 : Establishment of the first institutional and academic partnerships.
2015 : Implementation of the first refugee francophone university in Musasa camp, Burundi.
– For security reasons, the UniRef mission in Burundi was suspended from August 2015 to September 2016.
– Initialization of the UniRef mission Tanzania.
The Origins of UniRef
Yvelyne Wood, artist actively engaged with refugees
“Deeply rooted in the history of wars, my artistic work is built on the testimony of victims of armed conflicts encountered in the field. Born into a family of teachers, philanthropy and education are part of my heritage.
My Grandfather, Wancel Morava, asylum seeker at 20 years old, entering the United States and became a US citizen. At the end of his life, he left 8 million dollars in scholarships to enable students from the University of Illinois to ensure their academic training.
In 2013, I created the UniRef mission to intervene in the field of education and to give a second chance to young refugees under the protection of UNHCR. The goal of the mission is to give hope and restore their dignity through the values of higher education values as a priority. These young people will play a fundamental role in the economic and cultural development of tomorrows’s Africa.”
Yvelyne Wood, artist, sculptor and designer, describes herself as a “Memory sensor”. These collected memories are rooted in the heritage of humanity, especially in areas of shadows: the memory of the wars that shook the twentieth and early twenty-first century. ”
Professor Donald Kuspit, Art Historian (Cornell University)
Her work is supported by The United Nations, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the French Office for Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons and by the French Ministry of Culture.