What is Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students?Presentation Transcript
Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS)
What is the UTRS?
The UTRS is a organization working to promote the rights and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers at tertiary education or seeking to access third level education studies in South Africa.
The organization is based in Cape Town, South Africa and works for refugees and asylum seekers nation-wide.
History of UTRS
How did the UTRS begin?
The idea of starting an association of refugee tertiary students came up in December 2004 as a result of the participation of some refugee students in a conference in Cape Town, of the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), a network of NGO’s, UN agencies, including UNHCR, donors, practitioners and beneficiaries.
Who started the UTRS?
The UTRS is an initiative born out of the inspiration and determination of a group of refugees and asylum seekers studying at tertiary education in South Africa.
What is the UTRS today?
The UTRS has grown in spite of numerous challenges and i n May 2009 has applied for NPO status with the
Department of Social Development.
Why “Unite” Refugee and Asylum Seeker Students?
The need of starting the UTRS was felt especially because many refugee students were facing severe financial difficulties;
Financial assistance given by tertiary institutions and other bodies in South Africa excludes refugee students;
Refugee students were often treated in South African tertiary institutions as “international” students;
A need was felt to assist those who were forced to interrupt their tertiary studies due to the circumstances in their home countries (war, persecution, discrimination, political instability);
Many refugee and asylum seeker students abandon their studies in South Africa each year due to financial hardship and other challenges;
The advice we received at the INEE conference was to act as a group.
What are the UTRS Vision and Mission?
Tertiary education becomes open and accessible to all refugees and asylum seekers wishing to further their knowledge, skills, and personal development.
Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students seeks to improve accessibility and the quality of life of refugee and asylum seeker students at tertiary institutions.
Goals of UTRS
To facilitate a process of empowerment of refugee and asylum seeker tertiary students.
To promote the integration of refugee and asylum seeker students into tertiary institutions and their respective host communities.
Objectives of UTRS
To assist refugees and asylum seeker students who are pursuing tertiary education at risk of abandoning their studies due to financial constraints;
To assist needy and deserving refugees and asylum seekers who qualify for tertiary education but do not have the financial means in exploring ways to source the necessary finances and other means required to study at tertiary education;
To develop and strengthen links with Universities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, non-governmental organizations, service providers, community based organizations, Churches, South African youth, South African communities, Government Departments, individuals and the international community;
To enhance donors’ awareness about the challenges experienced by refugee and asylum seeker students with a particular focus on tertiary institutions.
Stands for human rights;
Promotes the right to education and inclusion;
Seeks to encourage refugees and asylum seekers in achieving their full human, intellectual, academic and professional potential through tertiary studies;
Has hope for all refugee students at tertiary education who are currently struggling to be able to study in South Africa and other countries;
Encourages refugees and asylum seekers NOT
to lose hope in becoming what they wish to be.
Unity fo Tertiary Refugee Students…
The Executive Committee (EC) is composed of refugees and asylum seekers from different countries, most are university students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, others are young professionals. It consists of 10 members and has an equal representation of male and female members.
Lobbying and Advocacy Task Team (LATT)
Members: Close to 500 refugee and asylum seeker students at higher education, prospective students and graduate young professionals.
A Board of Advisors is being formed.
Orientation and career guidance for refugees and asylum seekers at secondary education;
Assistance with registration process at tertiary institutions;
Lobbying & Advocacy for the advancement of refugees’ education and labour rights;
Awareness raising & social cohesion promotion: cultural events, conferences, workshops, website;
Quarterly members’ meetings;
Annual General Meeting (AGM).
THE UTRS IS ON-LINE AT:
What YOU Can Do !
As a refugee or asylum seeker student JOIN Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS);
As an organization: become a UTRS partner;
As an individual or organization: SUPPORT the UTRS in its efforts.