Today, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, marks the 30 years anniversary of DAFI, the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund.
AMMAN, 18 August 2022 – Today, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, marks the 30 years anniversary of DAFI, the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund, a scholarship programme which allowed generations of refugees around the globe to go to university.
The programme was introduced to Jordan in 2007, and has provided 978 young refugees from in and outside camps with the means to pursue higher education opportunities in Jordanian universities over the years, of which 119 are currently enrolled, and an additional 15 joining this year. DAFI ensures gender balance, with 62 per cent of the currently enrolled students being young ladies. Refugee students from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and other countries, are majoring in a variety of fields, from medicine to engineering, linguistics, and computer sciences, among many other studies.
The DAFI scholarship covers tuition fees, books, transportation expenses and a subsistence allowance. Without this support, many refugees would never have the chance to access higher education, taking into consideration the relatively high tuitions fees in Jordan, in a time where many refugees encounter challenges in securing their most basic needs.
Mohammad, who arrived from Syria as a child, is about to complete his bachelor’s degree in Arabic literature: “I am one semester away from graduation, thanks to the DAFI scholarship programme” he says, looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life.
As of July 2022, 223,266 refugees in Jordan are between 18 and 35 years old, an age that comes with high expectations to complete their education and achieve their life goals. However, access to higher education remains a major challenge for the majority.
“Higher education represents the beacon of hope for youth, motivating young women and men to achieve and be productive members of the host community, but also be part of the reconstruction of their home country when the time comes”, says UNHCR Representative to Jordan, Dominik Bartsch, to underline the necessity to invest in the access to higher education for refugees.
This initiative would not have seen the light without the generosity of the Government of Germany, which for the past 30 years has been upholding higher education for refugees globally, and the Said Foundation, a prime supporter of refugees in the region. The programme is also generously funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals.
Ms. Catherine Thomé, Chief Executive at Saïd Foundation said: “We are immensely proud of our partnership with the DAFI programme. The programme empowers talented young people and enables them to become drivers of positive change in their communities and host communities. We have a great admiration for DAFI scholars, whose determination, resilience, and passion, give us real hope for a brighter future.”
The chargé d’affaires at the German Embassy in Amman, Mr. Florian Reindel, added: “refugees must not be seen as a burden, but as assets to society. As the biggest donor to the DAFI scholarship programme, Germany is proud to provide young bright refugees with access to higher education and a perspective for their future”.
The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative known as the DAFI Programme (Deutsche Akademische Fluchtling Initiative) is a unique UNHCR higher education scholarship programme initiated by the Government of Germany in 1992, which provided academic scholarships to refugee students in their host countries. Since its start, over 18,500 scholars in 54 different countries have benefitted from this programme.
For more information please contact:
Meshal El-Fayez, UNHCR Associate Communications Officer, [email protected], +962 79 704 53 91