SOAS Sanctuary Scholarships

In 2015, two SOAS students, Amira Rady and Holly Buck, started a campaign to make education more accessible at SOAS. As part of the student society ‘SOAS Solidarity with Refugees and Displaced People’, they began to research the ways in which they could affect positive change at SOAS. They had become aware, through their studies and events in the media, that there was a large group of people who were unable to access higher education. Furthermore, people without secure status are unable to access public funds, such as Student Finance, or find employment. As such, self-funding university becomes an added impossibility for these students, leaving them unable to access higher education.


SOAS generously offered to launch refugee fee waivers for six students. Although this was an incredible success and brought six incredibly talented students to SOAS, it was not the end of the campaign. The scholarships were only available to refugees and as people are often trapped in the UK asylum system with indefinite status for ten years or more, the prospect of waiting for their status to be changed can be incredibly disenfranchising.  


In February 2017, the alumni team ran a two week campaign to fundraise for the students living costs. We were overwhelmed by the support of our alumni, who in just two weeks donated over £160,000. More than just this, we received offers from alumni to be mentors, to provide internships and even to host the scholars in their spare rooms. Michelle was a student directly affected by this, but through the support of the SOAS community and the generosity of one particular Alumna, has been able to fulfill her dream to study Law


Since the launch of the Sanctuary Scholarships, SOAS has welcomed twenty one students and strives to break down the barriers to education.


You can read about SOAS Alumna, Ali Ghezelbesh, who asked his wedding guests to support the Scholarship in lieu of wedding guests here on the SOAS blog


You can support the scholarships and ensure a generation of students do not miss out on education here.