Miran's story

From asylum seeker to Masters student

Miran looking at camera. Portrait image

 Miran Agha


Miran is Iraqi and has a disability which affects his muscle groups, causing disordered movements throughout his body. He came to the UK on 5 April 2016 as an asylum seeker. This is his story.

“I was forced to leave my country because of discrimination; Iraqis see people with special needs as unproductive and unable to integrate into society. I had hoped to be granted asylum by the UK government so that I could start a new life free from persecution, however, in January 2017 my dreams were crushed when my asylum application for refugee status was refused.”

Undeterred, Miran submitted a fresh claim for asylum. Three years later, in 2020, he was granted Discretionary Leave to Remain in the UK. Finally, Miran could start to rebuild his life.

“I became the first person in my family to study for a degree. I was awarded a scholarship at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I successfully completed a three-year undergraduate course in Creative Computing.”

Wanting to build on these studies, Miran decided to apply for a Masters degree. Inspired by an Open Day visit in the summer of 2018, Sussex became his university of choice:

“Surrounded by a beautiful national park, the Sussex campus offered a calm and peaceful environment, which I thought would be conducive to learning. Additionally, all of the staff and students that I met during my visit were really friendly and supportive. Studying for a Masters at Sussex became my dream.”

However, Miran’s dream was seemingly out of reach. He explains:

“Despite having the necessary qualifications and skills, I faced limitations due to my immigration status, which meant that I was ineligible to receive student finance or apply for other loans. As a refugee with limited resources, I simply couldn't afford the cost of studying for a Masters.”

Happily, during the summer of 2022, Miran’s dream came true when he was awarded an Article 26 scholarship, supported through donations to the Sussex Fund. The Scholarship takes its name from Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: ‘Everyone has the right to education’, and it was introduced by Sussex specifically to address the financial barriers to higher education experienced by asylum seekers and refugees.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of those alumni who have donated to the Sussex Fund, which supports the Article 26 Scholarship. Your generosity has transformed my life and created incredible opportunities for me.”MIRAN AGHA

Now studying for a Management of Information Technology MSc, Miran says:

“During my time at Sussex I have acquired a wealth of new skills, including Advanced Software Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Managing Complex Projects, Products, and Systems and Programming. Besides what I’ve learned through my course, I have also been able to hone my aspirations for the future and I have received incredible support in terms of both my physical and mental well-being.”

The future looks bright for Miran. Inspired by Sussex’s Green Future event – a sustainability-oriented careers fair, designed to give students a better understanding of the green jobs market, including what a ‘green’ job is and where to find one – Miran is about to start a full-time internship at Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo). Poignantly, this will be Miran’s first taste of employment.

Acknowledging that such an opportunity would have remained beyond his reach had it not been for Sussex and his Article 26 Scholarship, Miran says:

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of the alumni who have donated to the Sussex Fund, which supports the Article 26 Scholarship. By giving to the Sussex Fund, you are not only empowering students like me, you are contributing to the progress of society as a whole. Your generosity is shaping a brighter future for all of us.”

The University provides two fully funded undergraduate Article 26 scholarships, and a further scholarship for postgraduate students is made possible through donations to the Sussex Fund. By making a donation to the Sussex Fund, you could help someone like Miran to study at Sussex in the future.