DAFI Background

Spread the love

DAFI Programme:

Refugee youth and young adults are confronted with many barriers to accessing higher education. These include lack of financial resources, differences in the language of instruction, lack of certificates and recognition of certification, mobility restrictions and long distances to higher education institutions, lack of specialized academic or individualized support, limited access to information, including policies governing access to higher education for refugees in host countries. As a consequence, only one percent of refugees have access to higher education worldwide.1The Government of Germany initiated the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI program)in 1992 and remains the program’s largest donor. A number of private-sector partners and foundations also support the DAFIprogramme.2UNHCR manages the implementation of the DAFI program, which has become a flagship model for expanding access to higher education and opening doors to self-reliance for refugee individuals and communities. DAFI continues to play a key role in minimizing the interruption of individual educational pathways, allowing refugee youth and young adults to pursue higher education while ensuring that their rights and protection needs are respected. Over a 27-year period between 1992 and 2019, the program supported more than 15,500 young refugee women and men to pursue their undergraduate degrees in refugee-hosting countries across the globe. The DAFI program provides scholarships to young refugees to help them access and complete higher education in universities, colleges, and polytechnics in their host countries, and in some cases, in the country of origin upon return. The scholarship covers a range of costs including tuition and study materials, food, transportation, and accommodation. The DAFI scholarship also provides academic preparatory, language, and information and communication technology (ICT) courses, as well as psychosocial support, where needed. The comprehensive approach is designed to promote student academic achievement, skills development, and well-being towards a rich and empowering overall higher education experience. DAFI students also have access to social networking, peer support, community engagement and internship opportunities, and country-level DAFI Clubs and alumni networks. The DAFI program aims to support all sponsored students to successfully complete their undergraduate studies and to equip them with relevant skills and experience (i.e. community and voluntary work, internships, language courses) to be able fully to embrace livelihoods and self-reliance options after graduation. DAFI students testify to the immense importance of achieving their undergraduate degree, as well as the added benefits of having access to a supportive DAFI community, opportunities for volunteer work, training, and internships, and the development of leadership skills that allow them to contribute to the communities where they live and study.