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Posted On: 22nd Sep 2015

Equal Education

Fixer Anna Lewis
18-year-old Abdel shares his story
Issa speaks about his experiences in the Fixers film

Keen to help asylum seekers who want to attend university, Anna Lewis is urging institutions to offer reduced fees and bursaries, so those forced to flee their home countries aren’t denied an education when they arrive in England.

The 22-year-old from Bristol and her team are challenging the rules imposed by many universities, that set high and often unattainable fees for asylum seekers and their families.

Until they are granted full refugee status, asylum seekers are often classed as overseas students, so must pay higher fees, but without access to grants or loans.

‘Everybody deserves the chance to learn new skills and to fulfil their ambitions,’ explains Anna.

‘Asylum seekers do not have the chance to choose universities in different countries. It is discriminatory to prevent them accessing all that is available here.

‘The high fees prevent a vulnerable group from attaining higher education’

Anna and her team have helped create a film with Fixers. It tells the stories of a number of young people, who were forced to leave their homes in Syria, Sudan and Pakistan, and have aspirations to go to university.

With no access to financial support, those featured discuss the obstacles they face when trying to develop and hone their skills.

You can watch the group’s Fixers film ‘Equality of Education’ at the top of this page.

‘Having the testimonies of affected young people on screen is so powerful,’ Anna comments.

‘Syeda, who features in the film, is seeking asylum with her family.

‘When you meet her she seems to be on course to attend a top university and earn a brilliant degree, but the reality is very different.

‘She has so much to offer and we have so much to gain from her, but yet she is stopped at the first hurdle.’

The group hope their film will inspire other young people to lobby universities to make a change.

‘The powerful do not just hand out privileges to people,’ Anna adds.

‘Rights must be fought for and the voice fighting for asylum seekers in the UK is not always strong enough.

‘We have now given a face and a voice to people who were struggling to be heard. Please listen!’

 

This Fixers campaign is supported by Comic Relief.

For more information on this subject, visit 

www.childrenslegalcentre.com, www.refugeesupportnetwork.org or www.refugeecouncil.org.uk.

Help Fix It - Share this story!

 

Tori Baker and her team want to challenge negative
perceptions of refugees. Watch their Fixers film.

 

Author: Cara Laithwaite

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