Iteme Program

About Iteme

Iteme (Bridge in Kinyarwanda) is an instructional program supporting refugee and vulnerable students across Rwanda and Ethiopia to post-secondary opportunities.

Iteme is designed for ambitious secondary school students and graduates from underserved communities. Most Iteme students have completed secondary school, but have been unable to access tertiary education or career options because of skill gaps, lack of access to information about opportunities or financial challenges. 



Why Us

At selected sites, we also support secondary students in their final year to pass the national exam and later secure scholarships.

Kepler has a strong track record of preparing African youth with the 21st Century Skills needed to succeed in tertiary education and employment. Through the Iteme program, students acquire key academic and soft skills while improving their English fluency and self-confidence.

Connecting Scholarship Providers with Talented, but Hard-to-Reach, Youth

Subsequently, refugees are less likely to access quality education than other youth.

Iteme staff will:

– Identify scholarship opportunities in Iteme countries of operation and internationally

– Invite programs to present in person or through live or recorded webinars

– Collaborate with admissions staff to identify eligible applicants.

– Share application openings and deadlines with Iteme student and alumni networks


We ensure access to quality educational opportunities for all our beneficiaries. As an Iteme student you will receive:

  • Help to navigate admissions processes
  • Access to technology and internet for web based application
  • Guidance on how to create email addresses and communicate professionally
  • Documentation support in obtaining travel documents, transcripts, and equivalence application & processes
  • English proficiency tests (Duolingo)
  • Liaise directly with admissions officers to explain local contexts and possible constraints in documentation or time frames

Iteme graduates have gone on to study with full scholarships to universities across Africa.

“Iteme is important because it reaches youth, and communities, who are often left behind.”

We admit students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a focus on refugees, young women, and youth with disabilities.

  • Students in their final year of secondary school
  • Recent secondary school graduates
  • Those who have completed their secondary education, but couldn’t access tertiary education

Iteme will help you:

  • Build your confidence
  • Improve your English
  • Use technology
  • Understand your options for further education or employment
  • Set goals for your future
  • Find & apply for scholarship opportunities
  • Follow Kepler | Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram
  • Look for calls for applications from local UNHCR offices, camp centers, and refugee community spaces.

Step 1:

  • Fill in and submit online form

Step 2:

  • Wait to be called for an Admissions Test

Step 3:

  • If you are admitted you will be notified via phone calls or SMS
  • Group Work & Discussion.
  • One-on-one advisory sessions.
  • Intensive writing & reading sessions.
  • University/ program visits and webinars.
  • Independent study.
  • College Application support.

Email us at with your scholarship requirements for us to prepare students. Furthermore, we will 

  • provide assistance during your program outreaches/info sessions
  • guide your program in the documentation processes
  • connect you with potential local partners
  • share our learnings and experiences

“Iteme helps us to develop professional competencies like crafting a compelling CV, essay writing, networking, Maths, and English, as well as gender equality and youth empowerment. Thanks to Iteme with its help my dream to study at university came true.”

Supporting Admitted Refugee Students with Travel

When students are admitted to international universities, they start their travel preparation process. This stage can be very lengthy and challenging for refugees, which is why we recommend universities allow additional time for refugee students. Iteme staff work closely with local UNHCR and immigration offices to support students throughout the process.

What makes the process challenging?

Refugee travel documents are issued by immigration officials in the country of asylum. Refugees can only request travel documents if they have tangible reasons (eg. a scholarship offer abroad or conference invitation).

Affordable Education

Youth who live in refugee camps can face many additional challenges. Camps are often located in remote areas far from cities with immigration offices, and the process frequently requires multiple visits. Many refugee youth are unfamiliar with traveling outside of the camp and navigating government procedures.

Students traveling on refugee travel documents must secure visas before flying. They cannot apply for ‘visas on arrival’ at the airport. Securing the visa is a secondary process, which cannot happen until the travel document has been issued. This step also requires support from the university.

Some universities ask students to get specific vaccines prior to their travel. There are vaccines, such as COVID and yellow fever, which are fairly easy to access. However, others can be quite expensive and difficult to obtain. Whenever possible, we recommend allowing students to get certain vaccinations upon arrival in the country of study.

Refugees may face significant obstacles with immigration officials at airports. It’s important for universities to provide contact information in case there are issues entering the country. Iteme staff connect with students before the trip to make sure they have all required documents printed and know what to do or who to call if they are detained.

Valentin was living in the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda, and now he’s studying at USIU in Kenya. Collaboration between USIU-Africa and Iteme staff was essential as Valentin prepared for travel.