DAFI scholars look forward to the future

DAFI scholars look forward to the future

Sameer, Sarah, Neija and Ramin are recipients of the 2016-17 DAFI scholarships


"My father once waited for two weeks in showroom to sell a carpet, so that he could earn money for the family, says Sameer, 24, an Afghan national who is currently pursuing MBA programme at Jamia Hamdard University. He has been supported by the DAFI scholarship. Sameer obtained a Bachelor's degree in Tourism and Management from Bhagat Singh College but was struggling to complete his MBA due to financial problems. After realizing that the money he had earned from his job as a translator and interpreter and the resources provided by his sister who works as a school teacher were not enough, he decided to apply for the DAFI scholarship.

The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI) is made available through UNHCR, while the funding is provided by the German government. The purpose of the DAFI Programme is to contribute to the self-reliance of refugees by providing them with a professional qualification for future employment.

Currently in the final semester of the MBA programme Sameer hopes to work for his country of origin Afghanistan. "I was three when we first came to India, but I am in touch with my country through news reports and Facebook. Afghanistan is rich in minerals, but the people don't know its worth. I would like to make Afghans understand the worth of these minerals," he says.

Though Sameer's parents have gone through several difficulties they have always encouraged their children to study and have made several sacrifices for them. "My father refused several offers for resettlement so that we may be able to complete our studies. If we had gone to another country and another educational system we may have lagged behind," explains Sameer.


"I know they have gone through a lot of difficulties but they don't tell us," says Sarah, a DAFI scholar who is pursuing English honours at Gargi College, Delhi. Sarah Jalil was born in India in 1997, while her family came to India in 1990.

Sarah is the youngest of the five siblings and the only girl-child in her family. "Though I would have been able to pursue my education without a scholarship, my subject entails complementary readings. I would not have been able to purchase extra books without a scholarship. Also it allows me to live the life of a student in Delhi," she says.

Though currently she is involved in understanding the intricacies of English literature, in future she would like to work in the field of gender, international relations. "I would like to create awareness about refugees. Only when I was 15-16 years old did I understand what it meant and the baggage associated with it," she says.


"Neija from Myanmar discovered psychology as a she worked with refugees from Myanmar at UNHCR partner, BOSCO. After having pursued BA in Rural Management from IGNOU, she decided to pursue a Masters Programme in Rural Development. "I was working in Bosco and I came across refugees who were going through several psychological issues, so I thought it is a good way to help them," she says, adding, "In the future I am going to work as a psychologist."

However, the course is also helping Neija, who is from the Kuki community in Myanmar who had to leave behind her family in Myanmar and come to India to deal with being separated from her family and country. "Psychology has also helped me to deal with my own trauma," she says.

Neija would like to take the subject of psychology to her home country of Myanmar. "In Myanmar, there is not much awareness about psychology. When Myanmar develops, psychology will have a place in the society. I would then like to work there," she says.


"The DAFI scholarship has really come to my rescue," says Ramin, 21, who is also from Afghanistan, who is pursuing B.Com (Honours) from Jamia Millia Islamia. "When I went to Dayal Singh College in June 2016, they said that the admission time for foreign students was over and that I had to join from January 2016," he says. Ramin had to wait for the following year to gain admission into the college. Meanwhile, he worked in a local gym to earn money to support himself and his family. "As a foreign student I would not have been able to afford the cost of the B com programme as it too high. But thanks to DAFI, I am now able to study," he says.

Ramin hopes to make it to a business school in the USA someday. He has already started preparing for GMAT exams. "The cost of higher education is very high. I hope to get a scholarship to study in the USA," he says. However, in the future he would like to work for the social good of refugees who he believes can contribute positively to the society they live in.


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