The DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative) scholarship programme offers qualified refugee and returnee students the possibility to earn an undergraduate degree in their country of asylum or home country. In 2021, 8,307 young refugees (41 per cent female) from 53 countries of origin were enrolled on DAFI scholarships in 55 countries around the world. A total of 2,860 new scholarships were awarded in 2021 with the DAFI programme also receiving the highest number of applications to date, 15,860 in total, reflecting increased demand and greater need for investment in higher education scholarships and opportunities for refugees.
Through the dedicated support of the Government of Germany, along with the support of the government of Denmark, as well as UNHCR and private donors, the programme has supported over 21,500 young refugees to undertake tertiary studies since 1992.
The 2021 DAFI report, ‘Higher Education: Now is the Time’, highlights the urgent and pressing need to invest in higher education opportunities for refugees in the context of widening disparity in both education quality and access between high- and low-income countries, where most refugees are hosted. To achieve 15 per cent enrolment of young refugee women and men by 2030, more partners must signal their support for education for all and particularly for inclusive education systems.
To learn more, please see the 2021 DAFI Programme Annual Report.
The strategic priorities of the DAFI programme are to:
- promote refugee self-reliance through increased access to opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship
- empower students to contribute knowledge, skills and leadership and to facilitate peaceful coexistence with host communities during displacement and upon return
- strengthen the protective impact of education by encouraging lifelong learning
- provide role models for refugee children and youth to demonstrate the impact of education on individuals, communities and societies.
The scholarship covers a range of costs, including tuition, fees, study materials, food, transportation, accommodation and other expenses. To amplify academic achievement and skills development, DAFI scholars receive additional support through close monitoring, academic preparatory and language classes based on students’ needs, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities. DAFI student clubs and alumni groups are active in many countries and make valuable contributions in the communities that host them.
DAFI programme currently operates in:
Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The Americas: Ecuador, Mexico.
Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan.
Europe: Azerbaijan, Serbia, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Republic of Türkiye.
The Middle East & Northern Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Syria, Yemen.
Are you a refugee looking for a scholarship?
If you are an eligible candidate and DAFI exists in your country, you can request a DAFI Application form from your UNHCR country office. All applications need to be directed to the respective UNHCR country offices.
- Visit the DAFI programme FAQs page for more information.
- See the Scholarship portal for other scholarship opportunities.
- Stay up to date on UNHCR's latest news about education:
If you would like to share feedback or report a technical issue, please get in touch with the Education section through this online contact form.