Sussex University has started an appeal for donations to help a dozen students from Afghanistan who face financial hardship.
Some are new students and others are resuming their studies at the Falmer campus – and one of them, a Chevening scholar, has shared the harrowing story of his escape from Kabul.
Read about his flight from the Taliban here.
The university has started the Sussex Fund Afghan Appeal, calling on former students and the wider community to help provide any support that the students might need.
The university said: “The funds will be used to provide vital services such as specialist counselling and mental health support to cope with the trauma and separation from loved ones.
“In addition, we expect students unable to access funding from their homeland to need hardship bursaries and assistance in purchasing warm clothing and household goods.
“Five Afghan students have already arrived at the university’s Falmer campus with a further four in bridging hotels across the UK. Three more students are currently overseas and hoping to make their way to the UK in the near future.
“Nine students arriving from Afghanistan to study at the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies are scholars on the UK government’s Chevening programme.
“The Sussex Fund provides financial assistance through hardship bursaries, encourages excellence via scholarships and offers opportunities that students might not have had otherwise.
“Over the past two years, alumni, staff and friends have given over £500,000 to students through the fund which was able to respond to a significant increase in demand from students in need of support during the covid-19 pandemic.
“The appeal builds on Sussex’s award in June 2020 as one of only 15 UK universities to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary.
“The status recognises and celebrates the good practice of UK universities welcoming sanctuary seekers into their communities and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.”
Sussex University vice-chancellor Adam Tickell said: “These students are arriving at Sussex under very different conditions to those they had planned for.
“And we know from experience that refugees and people displaced or cut off from their home country can have diverse and complex needs.
“In keeping with our status as a University of Sanctuary, we in the Sussex community have been doing everything in our power to help these students feel welcome and safe and to support them in rebuilding their lives.
“I hope that we will see a really positive response to our appeal and urge everyone to donate what they can afford to the Sussex Fund to help these students in providing for their immediate and most urgent needs as they try to rebuild their lives.
“The generous support of donors will help to give these scholars the best possible start at Sussex. Every pound donated will send a clear message that we stand with them during this incredibly difficult time.”
The new students from Afghanistan include Naimat Zafary who had to negotiate a crowd of 15,000 as he led his family, including his wife and four young children, his parents and his younger brother and sister, into Kabul airport and on a flight to safety from the Taliban.
He said: “I couldn’t leave them behind. My sister is single. I heard the Taliban were coming to houses and taking girls. It wasn’t safe for her.
“And my brother wants to follow in my footsteps, but there is no schooling now. How could I leave them?
“We have all cried for things we have lost – for first love, for financial losses – but the cry for losing your country is something you can never forget.”
To donate, click here.
To read Naimat’s story, click here.
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