Programme report evening: allocating bursaries in support of Syrian students

France Terre d’Asile (France L and of Asylum) and the association Démocratie et Entraide en Syrie (Democracy and Mutual Aid in Syria) organised an evening to present the report of 100 student bursaries allocated to support Syrian students living in France on the 1st of June. Other initiatives like the sponsorship “Duos for tomorrow” aim to enable refugees to integrate into French society.

bilan FTDA 3As a consequence of the war which has been ravaging Syria for five years now, numerous Syrian students have been forced to migrate to other countries. In France, most of these students don’t speak French and encounter economic difficulties which could compromise the pursuit of their apprenticeship. Furthermore, more than 900 Syrian students here in France are in difficulty. Thanks to a donation from the Professional Football League, France Terre d’Asile and Démocratie et Entraide – called “Ghosn Zeitous” in Syria – have set up bursaries to help these students. They will also be able to pursue their studies in other to be able to play a part in the future reconstruction of their countries.

The bursaries have been given to 100 Syrian or Palestinian students who are younger than 28 years old, initially refugees in Syria and who arrived in France after the 1st of January 2014. The majority of these students are based in the Parisian region, but five of them study at Aix-Marseille University. Today, 27% of these students continue to study French as a foreign language, 34% are doing engineering studies, 13% are training in the health field and 7% are studying management. Young girls make up a quarter of them.

At present, financing refugee students for one year of French as a foreign language is still proving to be difficult; the governmental and European programmes focus on Masters, following the example of the hundred or so bursaries the French government recently launched in 2016. A global reflexion on the situation of refugee students must be made, just like on the solidarity that France would like to express regarding Syrian youth not being able to get access to studies because of the war.

An original reception plan, initially elaborated by the University Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne (UPEC), involves territorial community groups, universities and associations which accompany students and follow them right up until they are integrated. However, this plan has only just been made in France – including the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

Duos of Tomorrow
Another initiative has been launched by France Terre d’Asile thanks to a donation from the Professional Football League: sponsorship ‘Duos of Tomorrow’. This sponsorship relies on the creation of a privileged relationship between a French citizen, the sponsor, and someone benefitting from international protection, the person being sponsored. Sponsoring a refugee enables citizens driven by values of solidarity, welcoming, living well together, to convey their aspirations to a more open and welcoming society in a solid commitment which could change the life of a refugee by supporting them during their integration process. Through dinner invitations, cultural excursions and artistic activities, the sponsors generate a social link and allow the refugees to get to know French society better. Up until now, a hundred or so of these duos have been formed.