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Everyone has the right to education: Adarsh’s story
By: Emma Wigmore
Last updated: Monday, 1 March 2021
In 2020, Sussex was awarded the title of University of Sanctuary in acknowledgement of its efforts to welcome and support forced migrants. It is one of only 15 UK universities to be awarded this title.
Recognising the barriers faced by forced migrants and refugees when trying to obtain student funding, Sussex introduced Article 26 Scholarships, which take their name from article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to education. These sanctuary scholarships provide support for students who are not eligible to receive student loans due to their immigration status.
Adarsh is an Article 26 scholar. This is his story:
“I came to the UK from Mauritius when I was 10 years old. I completed my primary, secondary and sixth form education in London. At school, I was always confident, happy and sociable. I made sure I made the most of my school years by studying hard and taking part in extra-curricular activities like playing football and joining the school council.
“When I received my A Level results, I was thrilled to have achieved the grades required to go to university to study law. However, my joy was abruptly quashed. While my friends and classmates progressed, I was held back.
“Despite completing my schooling and spending well over half of my life in the UK, I was distraught to find out that, because of my immigration status, I was not entitled to student finance to fund my university studies. I was devastated, lonely and confused.
“It was only after I joined the organisation ‘Let Us Learn’ that I was made aware of the harsh laws governing eligibility for student finance. The law dictates that I should be classed as an international student, which meant I was faced with paying higher tuition fees. The fees and living costs associated with going to university were simply unaffordable for my family.
“For the next four years I lived at home with my parents, not doing very much except waiting for some light at the end of the tunnel. In 2018, I found out that I had met the eligibility criteria to apply for an Article 26 Scholarship at the University of Sussex. I submitted an application to study Law with International Relations as well as for the Scholarship, and I remained hopeful.
“I was elated when I heard that I had been accepted at Sussex and was being awarded an Article 26 Scholarship. The tears of joy, screams of happiness and overwhelming relief made it difficult to read out the offer letter to my family. The Scholarship not only covers my tuition fees but also provides me with a maintenance grant, which helps my family’s financial situation as I don’t need to depend on them for so much.
“I was overjoyed when I arrived on the beautiful Sussex campus to begin a new and exciting chapter of my life, and since that time I’ve made sure that I’ve experienced as many of the things that Sussex has to offer as possible. I have made life-long friends, joined societies, played football, learned tennis, joined the Widening Participation Ambassador program, and become a Residential Advisor – all whilst progressing academically. I can finally be the confident, happy and sociable individual that I know I am.
“I am now in the third year of my degree course. After graduating, I hope to remain at Sussex and enrol on a masters in International Commercial Law. Sussex now offers an Article 26 scholarship to study at postgraduate level, which I will apply for to help fund my studies.
“The Article 26 Scholarship has truly changed my life. I have no doubt that I will give to the Sussex Fund in the future so that Article 26 Scholarships can continue to support students like me. Having worked with other young adults through ‘Let Us Learn’, I know that there are many bright and talented individuals who could have their lives changed for the better through this Scholarship.
“I sincerely thank the University and the Sussex alumni community for supporting and recognising me in this way. My Article 26 Scholarship was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”
The Sussex Fund supports Article 26 Scholarships. You could change the life of forced migrants and refugees by making a donation to the Sussex Fund here. A regular or one-off gift will help other students like Adarsh to realise their dreams and study at Sussex.