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Educational grants open a door into the world of knowledge for refugees Print Version

23 November, 2012, Bishkek – Today H.E. Ambassador Gudrun Maria Sräga of Germany and UNHCR Representative Mr. Johann Siffointe congratulated the beneficiaries of the DAFI scholarship. A host of Refugee-students participated in a contest to receive scholarships for higher education in Kyrgyzstan.

Since 1992 The German Government has funded DAFI - The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative - to support tertiary education for talented refugees worldwide. Its primary objective is to help deserving young refugees pursue professional qualifications geared towards future employment and social integration in the host countries, or upon return to their home countries. A DAFI scholarship covers full tuition at their chosen university for four years of study. It has been implemented in 36 countries, among them Kyrgyzstan.

“This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the scholarship “German Academic Refugee Initiative Albert Einstein”. This is a unique opportunity for young, qualified refugees to be able to study at a university of the country where gave they have taken residence. By now about 8,000 students all over the world have benefited from the programme. We hope that the scholars will be able to return to their countries after graduation or later to help build up a democratic, pluralistic society”, the Ambassador said.

Education is a vital part of everyone’s development and it provides the basis for future careers and employment. Refugees who have fled their home countries face language barriers here, cautious attitudes of the local people and, as foreign students, they often pay higher tuition for their studies. The DAFI scholarship gives refugees the opportunity to receive their desired education.

The Representative of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) thanked the German Government for the DAFI program and the German Embassy for their active support in its implementation in Kyrgyzstan. Talking to students, Johann Siffointe, the UNHCR Representative said: “Your hard work will be rewarded in the future when you start working and bring your family a more desirable level of life. You serve as a model for other refugee youths”.

“It was not only a scholarship but in fact it was a candle of hope in the life of my family for a better and prosperous future. After graduation from the University I will help my mother and my sisters to live in better conditions,” said Varno Yasib, an Afghan refugee-girl who won the DAFI scholarship this year.

Since 2002 in Kyrgyzstan 33 young men and women benefited from the DAFI programme. This year the programme provides educational grants for 11 refugee youths in Kyrgyzstan. They were selected by a committee comprised of the German Embassy, the UN Refugee Agency, the Ministry of youth, Labour, Employment and Migration and three refugee-assisting non-governmental organizations, namely Sezim, Counterpart Sheriktesh and Adilet. The selection process prioritized talented candidates who intend to contribute their skills to Kyrgyz society or to their countries of origin in case of repatriation.


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un.org.kg, 2008

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