From war-torn Syria to St Antony’s, Oxford – college and charity combine to change the life of one lucky Syrian.

Summer headlines have been dominated by a migration crisis in Europe, and the issues the mass movement entails. It is easy to forget about the those already settled either in refugee camps or a new country. Day-to-day lives of Syrians living in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon are not something that we have heard much about, having been overshadowed by the situation in Europe. Sending TV crews to Hungary is cheaper than sending them to Damascus, right?

St Antony’s College in Oxford are actually focusing on the refugees in the camps, by offering a scholarship for a one year Masters’ in partnership with Jusoor, for a Syrian citizen or a stateless person residing in Syria. It’s not going to solve the crisis, but at least for a small number of these affected people there is a chance to live in relative normality.

The scholarship covers all course and college fees, as well as providing a grant of living costs of “at least £14,057”, all of which is jointly funded by the University and Jusoor (an NGO formed by Syrian expatriates). Jusoor aims to support the country’s development and help Syrian youth realize their potential through education and career services. St Antony’s join Warwick, Sheffield and the University of East London as UK institutions helping suffering refugees.

Oxford is not the only institution with whom Jusoor has ties: it has made partnerships with, and offers scholarships to, universities in Australia, Mexico, the USA, and Germany to name a few. Jusoor’s Scholarship Programme aims to help “Syrian students looking to complete their studies abroad”, such that they “attain academic scholarships at top universities across the US, Europe, and the Middle East”, with 204 scholarships granted so far. Through their Refugee Education Programme in Lebanon, Jusoor have also provided quality primary education the 1700 Syrian children enrolled in their schools.

Despite VERSA’s usual snark, we think this is fantastic and commend St Antony’s & Jusoor for making a difference, however small.

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