University of Sussex launches fundraising appeal to help support arriving Afghanistan students
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Thursday, 23 September 2021
The University of Sussex has launched an appeal raising funds to support a dozen new and returning students from Afghanistan who are beginning their studies this week.
Sussex Fund Afghan Appeal has been launched this week calling on the generous Sussex community to help provide any support the students might need.
The funds will be used to provide vital services such as specialist counselling and mental health support to cope with the trauma and separation from loved ones. In addition, we expect students unable to access funding from their homeland to need hardship bursaries and assistance in purchasing warm clothing and household goods.
Five Afghan students have already arrived at the University’s Falmer campus with a further four in bridging hotels across the UK. Three more students are currently overseas and hoping to make their way to the UK in the near future.
Nine students arriving from Afghanistan to study at the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies are scholars on the UK Government’s Chevening programme.
The Sussex Fund provides financial assistance through hardship bursaries, encourages excellence via scholarships, and offers opportunities that students might not have had otherwise.
Over the past two years, alumni, staff and friends have given over £500,000 to students through the fund which was able to respond to a significant increase in demand from students in need of support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The appeal builds on Sussex’s award in June 2020 as one of only 15 UK universities to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary.
The status recognises and celebrates the good practice of UK universities welcoming sanctuary seekers into their communities and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.
Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of University of Sussex, said: “These students are arriving at Sussex under very different conditions to those they had planned for; and we know from experience that refugees and people displaced or cut off from their home country can have diverse and complex needs.
“In keeping with our status as a University of Sanctuary, we in the Sussex community have been doing everything in our power to help these students feel welcome and safe, and to support them in rebuilding their lives.
“I hope that we will see a really positive response to our appeal and urge everyone to donate what they can afford to the Sussex Fund to help these students in providing for their immediate and most urgent needs as they try to rebuild their lives.
“The generous support of donors will help to give these scholars the best possible start at Sussex. Every pound donated will send a clear message that we stand with them during this incredibly difficult time.”
Sussex’s new students from Afghanistan include Naimat Zafary who had to negotiate a crowd of 15,000 to get himself and his young family, including his wife four young children, his parents and younger brother and sister, into Kabul airport and on a flight to safety from the Taliban.
He said: “I couldn’t leave them [his family] behind. My sister is single. I heard the Taliban were coming to houses and taking girls. It wasn’t safe for her. And my brother wants to follow in my footsteps, but there is no schooling now. How could I leave them?
““We have all cried for things we have lost – for first love, for financial losses – but the cry for losing your country is something you can never forget.”
To donate visit here.
To read more about Naimat’s story visit here.
The Chaplaincy is currently carrying out a collection for the Red Cross Afghanistan Crisis Appeal at several locations across campus. Look out for money collection buckets at the Meeting House, Students' Union bar and shop.