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New Small Grants programme to help students support refugees: building integration, together

BRUSSELS – ESU launched a Small Grants Programme to help its member student unions contribute to securing the refugees’ fundamental human rights and stimulate a sense of belonging to the national and European community. With a budget for actions of over 125,000.00 EUR, the programme aims to strengthen the capacity of ESU members, to foster their ability to be more responsive to current global challenges and improve their planning, strategizing and leadership capacity.

Europe is facing the largest number of refugees since World War II, with 1 million migrants arriving in Europe by sea in 2015, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR.  The situation urgently calls for addressing fundamental human rights such as food, housing, and of course education.

European Students’ Union members reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable and accessible higher education for all, when adopting a statement of proactive solidarity with refugees[1] during the General Assembly in Cluj-Napoca in December 2015.

Through the Together, Moving Forward. Students and Refugees uniting for integration in society and education’ programme, ESU intends to, amongst others:

(1) Reshape the public and student discourse around refugees[2]. ESU will assist NUSes in promoting  positive refugee-host interactions and initiatives for inclusion in the society and give access to education through Call for Action.

(2) Support and inspire national and local activities. ESU calls upon students to develop their own initiatives as an answer to the current situation and through which we will build capacity for student representatives to be more responsive to current global challenges, while improving their planning, strategizing and leadership skills.

The main theme of all applications for action is Promoting positive refugee-host interactions. The topics to be called are not pre-defined, however, all proposed actions  shall directly relate to the achievement of the objectives of the proposed programme. Organisations interested in receiving funding for projects are invited to carefully read the ‘Together, Moving Forward’ call for projects in its entirety and to follow the grant application guidance in order to apply for funds.

“Supporting and inspiring student-led initiatives that address refugees’ living conditions and not least access to education will translate into a strong transformative power. Through the small grants targeted at national unions, and the partnerships they want to set up, we will be able to address the immediate resource needs that our members face. We hope to see a whole set of different actions taking place and to see examples of fruitful cooperation with refugees and asylum seekers themselves. We plan to make support relevant to all our members, focusing not only on specific regions (e.g. countries most affected by the migrant flow), but also on levels of experience and different focus areas (i.e. either advocacy or education initiatives)“ says ESU’s President Lea Meister.

For more information, please consult the project webpage.


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