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This paper focuses on Hutu refugees from Burundi who, as a consequence of the mass killings in Burundi in 1993, were forced into Tanzanian exile. The actors in the study are the refugee teachers who have participated in the development of the educational programme in Lukole refugee camp in Ngara, Tanzania. The aim of the research was to explore Burundian Hutu refugees' experiences of exclusion from education in Burundi, and how this in turn has motivated education in Tanzanian exile. Before this could be accomplished, the need was recognized to investigate socio-political causes of the refugee situation, with special reference to education. As an illustration of how societies develop disasters like those witnessed in Burundi, a 'disaster model' is presented. What is revealed is that the Hutu majority has been systematically discriminated against and excluded from any post-primary education. The educational system in Burundi has, furthermore, been the arena for ethnical-political tension that has repeatedly escalated into violence. As a consequence, sending Burundian Hutu children to school was in many cases seen as a 'risk'. Given the testimonies of the refugee teachers, this fact also affected the refugee community in Tanzania and their willingness to send their children to school in the camp.