The Said Foundation has pledged a further US$1.8m to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to fund scholarships for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. This is in addition to the US$1.8m committed in 2014 and will support a second cohort of one hundred student scholarships. It will increase to two hundred the total number of young Syrian refugees being supported for undergraduate degree studies in universities in Lebanon and Jordan by the Foundation.
Announcing the grant the Chairman of the Foundation, Wafic Rida Said, said:
“I was very pleased that the Said Foundation enabled UNHCR to launch the first higher education scholarships programme for Syrian refugees in Lebanon during 2014 and that, in Jordan, our support enabled camp-based refugees to study at Jordanian universities for the first time. These young Syrians, more than half of them women, were selected on the basis of academic excellence and economic need. I am confident that they will play an important role as young leaders in the reconstruction of Syria in the future.
“Unfortunately we know that nearly 50 per cent of Syrian refugee children are currently out of school. This is a tragedy for them and for the future of Syria. More than 2,000 young people applied for our scholarships in 2014 which reflects the huge unmet demand that exists among Syrian refugees for access to higher education.
“I am delighted that the Foundation is able to extend its support to another one hundred young Syrian refugees in 2015 through the excellent efforts of UNHCR and its partners in Lebanon and Jordan. I call upon other organisations as well to do what they can to help ensure that every young Syrian receives the education that he or she, and that Syria, deserves.”
Since 2011 the Said Foundation has provided over $13.2m towards the needs of Syrians worst affected by the crisis in their country in the areas of education, medical care, support for children with disabilities, shelter and emergency relief supplies.
UNHCR Representative to the United Kingdom, Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, said:
“This new grant will make all the difference for another one hundred Syrian refugee students. The unwavering commitment of the Said Foundation, UNHCR’s most significant private UK donor, in supporting UNHCR’s efforts to secure access to tertiary education for Syrian refugee youth is an outstanding example of how private donors can project leadership and vision.
“We hope that the generous contribution of the Said Foundation will inspire and encourage others in the private sector to follow by example. It is absolutely critical that we focus donor and public support on vital education and protection programmes to lift Syrian youth out of misery, isolation and trauma. Our collective action can prevent a ‘lost generation’ from happening. The future of Syrian youth and the future of their nation are at stake.”
The scholarships supported by the Foundation will cover the costs of tuition and registration fees as well as allowances for other study costs and for subsistence for the four year duration of undergraduate studies at local universities. It is expected that one hundred new students will be supported, bringing the total number of Syrian students supported by the Foundation in 2014 and 2015 to fifty in Jordan and one hundred and fifty in Lebanon.