The DAFI programme has supported over 18,000 young refugees to date to access accredited higher education degree programmes.
On 10 December, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, celebrated the outstanding achievements of 150 students and the graduation of 119 refugee scholars who benefited from the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) scholarship programme in a ceremonial event organized by UNHCR implementing partner, Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Students benefiting from DAFI scholarships in Egypt come from Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen and are enrolled in a wide range of academic fields including social sciences, medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, science and engineering, among others.
“Germany is the second-largest supporter of UNHCR, working to ease humanitarian suffering throughout the world. The German Federal Foreign Office has been supporting UNHCR’s DAFI initiative since 1992, giving young refugees prospects for the future and a chance of becoming economically independent,” said Felix Haala, Head of Culture and Education at the German Embassy in Cairo. He added: “We are pleased to see the number of scholarship recipients in Egypt increase over the years, from a handful in 2013 to over 500 in 2021.”
The DAFI refugee scholarship programme has been implemented in Egypt by UNHCR partner CRS since 2015 and collaborates with public and private universities and institutes in Egypt. The DAFI programme represents a comprehensive opportunity that provides refugees with not just access to tertiary education, but also psychosocial support, academic preparatory sessions and language classes.
“I am very fortunate to have been a recipient of a DAFI scholarship, and part of the academic and social clubs related to it. Throughout the four years, I learned a lot and everyone involved in the scholarship programme gave me the motivation to complete my studies which I plan to pursue further,” said Nagwa Omar, a Sudanese biochemistry graduate.
Since 2018, the number of DAFI students in Egypt has grown by more than 140% to reach 523 refugee young men and women including 119 graduates, 204 ongoing students in addition to 200 newly scholars who have now started the 2021/2022academic year.
“Seeing 500 refugees from eight countries benefiting from the DAFI university scholarships in Egypt is very inspiring and gives everyone hope for a better future, especially when I see so many young women in the group. This partnership with the German Government is a great motivation for all of us at UNHCR to strive hard in restoring hope to the millions of refugees without access to education in hopes for a better future,” said Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Egypt Representative.
The DAFI refugee scholarship programme is a youth empowerment programme that enables refugee students to study at universities and colleges in over 50 countries of asylum. Launched in 1992 by UNHCR and the German Government, it has supported over 18,000 young refugee women and men to date to access accredited higher education degree programmes in their first country of asylum.
The DAFI programme is currently implemented in 54 countries, all of which are in the Global South and covers tuition fees, study materials, food, transport, accommodation, and other allowances.