Durable and Sustainable: Civil Society and the Expansion of Higher Education Solutions for Refugee Youth
Michelle Manks, Senior Manager of Durable Solutions for Refugees at World University Service of Canada (WUSC), discussed efforts by her nonprofit organization to secure sustainable funding for refugee student initiatives on campuses throughout Canada, in addition to private and community-based sponsorships. She explained how campuses adopt a range of unique models to fundraise, often through tuition waivers, student levies, and athletic scholarships. Putting forward stories demonstrating the positive impact students have on their communities is helpful in fundraising, as is having partners co-running initiatives to ensure greater longevity and sustainability, she said.
Alvaro Zúniga, Program Director at nonprofit Proyecto Habesha, described how Mexican civil society can be instrumental in helping nonprofits grow to scale as they work to provide educational pathways for refugee students. He explained that while working with Mexican authorities to gain support for refugee students accessing education, the government was quite delayed in its response. However, civil society helped programs grow gradually by building on smaller successes so they could prove to government agencies that they were a national asset worth supporting with visa and resettlement processes.
Paul Hastings, president and CEO of the nonprofit Japan ICU Fund for Syrian Scholars Initiative, described a similar government hesitancy to support the education resettlement of Syrian refugees in Japan. Nonprofits and international organizations eventually connected his organization with the Ministry of Justice and Affairs and proceeded to convince the ministry to unofficially agree to not send refugee students back to Syria upon graduation. There has also been a gradual shift to formally include non-Syrian refugee students in such programs. In addition, Hastings reported a recent growth in Japanese donors’ support for refugee education.
These highly diverse case studies showed that across the globe, civil society and NGOs are invaluable in bridging the gap between universities and governmental bodies, coaxing them to support refugee student education in long term, sustainable ways.
Post Date: 03-15-2022