Since 2007, UNHCR’s DAFI Scholarship programme funded by the German Government has played a vital role in bridging the gap between demand for and availability of higher education places for refugees in Jordan giving almost 900 students access to university scholarships.
Since 2007, UNHCR’s DAFI Scholarship program funded by the German Government with the support of the Said and Asfari Foundation has played a vital role in bridging the gap between demand for and availability of higher education places for refugees in Jordan giving almost 900 students access to university scholarships. This is Shahim’s story:
I was born in Hama, Syria, in environment that was filled with love and encouragement for success surrounded by an educated family who had everything we wanted. But then the war came and killed our dreams and our livelihoods forcing us to leave our home behind and flee to Jordan as refugees.
In Jordan, my parents made a huge effort to encourage us to interact with our new community and become a part of the society here. They put a great emphasis on education, and we enrolled in school immediately.
But for me, it was difficult. How could I see a future, in a place where I had no permanent home to ensure my education or even money to complete it. My dream was to be a doctor, but I could not see how it was possible to become one.
The support of my family though got me through. I remember one day in particular before my high school exams when my father came to me and gave me some important advice. That I was standing at a crossroads and I had to choose whether to face the challenges straight on. I decided to make my family proud of me.
All the work paid off. The day came when I received my high school exam results. I received the highest grades in my school and the top result for Syrian refugees in Jordan. These grades meant that I could choose whatever I wanted to study at university, but the same problem remained – how could I cover the high cost of university.
I felt that my dream was impossible. I knew a lot of people like me who had got among the top grades but weren’t able to go to university because of how much it would cost.
But a few days later, I noticed an advertisement on social media for a scholarship for Syrian refugees sponsored by UNHCR. I applied.
The most horrible time in my life was while I was waiting for my application result. My feelings mixed between fear and hope, but when I got the call to say I was accepted onto the scholarship program it was one of the best days of my life.
Since then over the last three years, the DAFI scholarship has changed my life. It’s made my dreams come true and given my life meaning again. It has taught me a lot, allowed me to make new friends who are all part of the same program and given us a sense of purpose, that we can achieve anything we want.
The scholarship has meant that I have had money to cover my academic needs, such as buying a laptop, and transportation to university and the books I need. It even keeps developing my skills by sending me to attend many different meetings and seminars which gives me a good experience related to my field.
Today, I am writing my story as a student in the fourth year of university studying medicine. I still have two years until I graduate and don’t know what will happen in that time, but one thing is certain that I now believe I have a future. Although I won’t be able to practice as a doctor here in Jordan once I graduate, I hope that what I have learnt will enable me one day to go back to Syria to help rebuild my country. There is hope.