Giving the gift of education to students from a refugee background

Shikofa, Bachelor of Business (Design and Marketing) student Shikofa, Bachelor of Business (Design and Marketing) student has been supported through the UniSA Refugee Scholarship Fund.

Growing up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, UniSA student Shikofa was not allowed to go to school.

“There was a war in every state – people were using guns more than pens,” she says.

The Bachelor of Business (Design and Marketing) student says she is grateful to have the opportunity to be able to afford to study at university through the generosity of UniSA’s philanthropic community.

“As a refugee, and a female from Afghanistan, I know how lucky I am to be living safely in Australia, to be employed, and studying at university,” Shikofa says.

“When I watch the news and see children in Afghanistan risking their lives to go to school, I feel immense sorrow as well as the sheer determination to work as hard as I can to receive the education that millions of girls around the world can only dream of.

“I believe education is the most powerful tool we have to break the cycle of disadvantage. For people from a refugee background, education is an important pathway to a better life.”

UniSA provides increased support for refugees through its UniSA Refugee Scholarship Fund – and is currently seeking more donors.

Through the UniSA Refugee Scholarship Fund, UniSA is aiming to provide more scholarships for undergraduate students from a refugee background to assist with their living and tuition expenses.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the University’s commitment to equity and diversity is a core part of its culture. 

“Globally, we are living through uncertain and unprecedented times,” Prof Lloyd says.

“One way to feel empowered is to know that you have done what you can to help someone else.

“We are encouraging everyone to join us in giving the gift of education to people from a refugee background by donating to the UniSA Refugee Scholarship Fund.”

Scholarships offer help to students of exceptional ability who, through an array of cultural, geographical and socio-economic circumstances, might not otherwise have the opportunity to go to university.

“Scholarships that are specifically for students from a refugee background help to relieve some of the cultural, political and economic pressures of adjusting to being both a recent arrival and a university student,” Prof Lloyd says.

This financial assistance is crucial because students from refugee backgrounds on certain visas (such as Permanent Residents) cannot currently receive HECS-HELP support.

Shikofa acknowledges that she would not be able to afford to attend university without the financial assistance she has received from scholarships.

“It can be difficult to study at university because of the upfront costs required on top of daily expenses,” she says.

“Every single dollar has gone towards my studies. Words cannot express my most sincere gratitude for the kindness of others who believe in me, see my potential and are helping me afford this life-changing opportunity.”

To read more from Shikofa about the importance of education for people from refugee backgrounds, and to donate, visit the Refugee Scholarship giving page. All donations received will go directly to the UniSA Refugee Scholarship Fund.