Scholarships for people seeking asylum

A Sudanese person seeking asylum awarded a scholarship to study law at La Trobe University says he is using education to help ‘rebuild his life.’

26-year-old ‘Umey’ will today be awarded a full scholarship at a ceremony at La Trobe’s Melbourne Campus to study a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Justice, Crime and Legal Studies).

It is one of two new scholarships granted by La Trobe University this year, in a dedicated scholarship programme partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, to assist people seeking asylum access higher education.

“La Trobe has a long-standing reputation of supporting students seeking asylum, and these new scholarships reflect that commitment,” said Professor Tony McGrew, Pro Vice- Chancellor.

“We recognise not only the desire many people seeking asylum have to take advantage of higher education opportunities, but also the barriers that often thwart their aspirations. That’s why scholarship programmes are so important.”

Umey studied law in Sudan, before working as a criminal and civil lawyer for a year. He also gained valuable experiencing working as a refugee advocate in Sudan, where he helped implement health, education, and settlement support services.

However, he was forced out of the country in 2010 because of civil unrest.

“For me education is key to rebuilding my life in Australia. I’m passionate about human rights and social justice and I’m hoping to continue my work in this area in Melbourne,” Umey said.

“I understand the raft of difficulties people seeking asylum face when they come to Australia. They need assistance to help navigate complex visa arrangements and I hope by furthering my legal studies I can continue to help those who need it most.”

ASRC Founder and Chief Executive Kon Karapanagiotidis said the scholarship support offered by La Trobe to people seeking asylum is ground-breaking in it's scope and potential impact.

“They are making it possible for refugees to touch the sky, realize their unlimited potential and thrive. They are helping nurture our future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs,” Mr Karapanagiotidis said.

The two scholarships cover full tuition fees for the students. They will also receive an additional $3000 annual bursary for living expenses, along with a laptop each.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s catering social enterprise is also partnering with La Trobe University’s Lawn Lunch – the first major event of the year to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary.

Every ticket to the Lawn Lunch will support these organisations and their vital work. For more information visit 50years.latrobe/lawn-lunch/.

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