This year the G12 students have decided to support The UWC Refugee Initiative.
Lack of access to education is a major issue affecting young refugees, internally displaced and persecuted people. They are five times more likely to be out of school than the rest of us. Refugee communities need future leaders with strong abilities, social consciousness and drive for peace and reconciliation.
This is why UWC launched the UWC Refugee Initiative, which aims to raise the funds for an additional 100 scholarships per year for refugee students.
Last year, our College community, came together to fully fund a two-year IB Refugee Scholarship. Palestinian refugee, Mahmoud, was overwhelmed to have been selected by the UWC National Committee for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon. In mid-2017, he flew to Europe to begin his new life at UWC Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“UWC has expanded my knowledge and given me different perspectives on issues. It changed me to be more understanding and encouraged me to look at each side of the story. I feel more comfortable here since you have the chance to speak up whenever you want about anything—and your voice is being heard by everyone.
This is crucial for a person who is coming from a conflict zone. I feel that I am the voice of all of those Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who are still deprived of their basic human rights and have no one to hear their suffering.”
In 2016, two UWC alumnae and then staff at UWC International, Polly Akhurst (UWC Atlantic College’06) and Mia Eskelund Pedersen (UWC Mahindra College ’07), began learning more about the tremendous gap in secondary education for young refugees while working on the UWC Refugee Initiative. During the global UWC Congress in October that year, they heard the UWC Syria National Committee’s story of having to turn away more than 300 UWC scholarship applicants annually. With UWC educators, alumni, volunteers, and staff from around the world (including our own UWCSEA East Director of Teaching and Learning, Stuart MacAlpine), ideas evolved on how to address the secondary education needs of refugees.
The Sky School was born.
A blended model (online and offline) offers flexible access. One of the key principles for Sky School is that the learning be applicable in students’ lives and communities, which gives them much greater agency and control in their life going forward. Pilot programmes have been trialled in Greece, Lebanon, Jordon, Hong Kong and Kenya. Now in launch phase, Sky School is a scalable initiative developing high school diploma programmes tailored to displaced youth around the world.
Thank you for supporting these two powerful changemaker initiatives to help refugees.