At all levels, refugee enrolment lags far behind global averages. And the further up the educational ladder you go, the greater the disparity.
Refugee students face a number of roadblocks, including high tuition fees, language barriers, and incomplete qualifications due to forced displacement. Women in particular often struggle to access education.
Only seven per cent of refugee youth are enrolled in higher education, compared to 40 per cent of non-refugee youth globally. This severely limits their chances of securing formal employment.
UNHCR is committed to achieving 15 per cent refugee enrolment in higher education by 2030.
The DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative) scholarship program provides life-changing education opportunities for young refugees.
It is the longest-running and largest stand-alone higher education scholarship program for refugees, supporting more than 22,500 young refugees in 56 countries over its 30-year history.
DAFI scholarships support bright refugees who would not otherwise have access to higher education, enabling them to complete degrees in a range of study areas.
As part of the scholarship program, UNHCR monitors progress and preparation at school, delivers preparatory and language courses, and provides volunteering and networking opportunities.
Supporting tertiary education is an investment not just in students - the leaders for tomorrow - but in their communities.
Higher education paves the way for employment, builds self-reliance and helps refugees give back to their communities.
Your donation can provide a DAFI scholarship package to ensure students can live and learn safely. Your gift can cover tuition and fees, as well as study materials, food, transport, accommodation and health insurance.
A scholarship package allows a student to complete their studies, build their networks and participate fully in campus life.
Talent is universal. Opportunity is not.
Aiming Higher is helping refugees take control of their futures through higher education. With your support, we can help refugees earn an undergraduate degree, rebuild their lives and give back to their communities.
The demand for DAFI scholarships has never been higher. Despite the thousands of applications, just one in six students was successful in 2022.
Your generous donation can provide more scholarships for ambitious refugee students. By helping to cover tuition and living expenses, you’ll help a young refugee achieve their dreams.
Refugee women often have fewer opportunities than men due to financial constraints, early marriage, childbearing and gender bias.
UNHCR is committed to redressing this imbalance and achieving equal gender representation among refugee students by 2025. There are currently 2,600 women in the DAFI program. UNHCR aims for an additional 5,050 women to be enrolled by 2025.
Raïssa is from the Central African Republic. She lost her mother when she was three years old. Her father, who had a history of alcohol problems and abuse, was not in a position to raise his children, and they were left in the care of their aunt who mistreated them.
Nevertheless, Raïssa found the strength to pursue her education and was always first in her class.
"I was constantly telling myself: you must do whatever it takes to succeed," she says.
Raïssa fled to Chad with two siblings when she was 16, just before finishing Year 10.
"We didn't have any money," she says. "Life was very difficult. I worked at a bar and restaurant to pay for school."
In her second year of school in Chad, Raïssa fell pregnant. However, she was determined to continue her education.
"Life was tough. I was mostly studying in the night, while my son was asleep. Eventually, I did obtain my Baccalaureate. I never gave up. You know, in life, nothing is easy. It is all about courage."
A DAFI scholarship enabled Raïssa to enrol in a degree in communications and marketing at Emi Koussi University in N’Djamena, Chad.
"I had tears in my eyes. Today, thanks to the scholarship, I can manage. My son goes to school, I go to university."
Raïssa has completed her final-year internship at a mobile phone company. She says her marketing degree has empowered her to be independent and pursue her career goals.
"Marketing is a good fit for me; I really enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to be independent. I want to be creative, to be a leader, one step at a time. I am very curious and always keen on learning new things."
Can help cover the tuition fees for one talented refugee student for one semester.
Can help cover one semester of a refugee student's education, including housing, food, travel, books and uniforms.
Can help fund one full year of study for one refugee student, including tuition fees, travel, housing, food, books and uniforms.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.