#WeekendMotivation: How Duolingo English Test and UNHCR are helping refugee students study abroad

The Duolingo English Test and UNHCR endeavour to change the narrative which aims to increase refugee enrollment in higher education to 15% by 2030
Duolingo and UNHCR are helping them
Duolingo and UNHCR are helping them(Pic: Duolingo)

Did you know? As per the United Nations (UN), only 7% of all refugees ever enrol at a university.

Now let's find out about three refugees who overcame all obstacles to pursue their higher education abroad.

Sana Nawabi is a 20-year-old from Afghanistan and is now pursuing her education at Huron University in Ontario, Canada. And guess what? She has been elected as the first-year international student representative and has also won two pitch competitions with her fellow business students. Way to go!

The 20-year-old has persevered in her pursuit of education, despite all the financial barriers and challenges within her family. She’s also passionate about women's access to employment and hopes to mentor other women interested in business and management careers.

Shaik Sohel is a 21-year-old from Myanmar, who will begin her education at Northwestern University in Illinois, United States of America (USA), in September 2024. Shaik was also a volunteer at MARI and Save the Children. She is also a leader at UDAAN, an advocacy programme which Shaik himself founded in Hyderabad. The aim was to motivate Rohingya families to send their children to school. He aims to continue his community service at university.

Shaik is an award-winning student and is a top performer in his school and region. His particular strengths in math and economics plus wide curiosity and hustle make Shaik a natural entrepreneur and innovator. Shaik is also very interested in technology and its ability to help

underserved communities ‘leapfrog’ into 21st-century employment opportunities. Video link

Fauziya, a 21-year-old from Myanmar, will pursue her education at Smith College in Massachusetts, USA, in August 2024. She is fierce and energetic and has made up her mind to continue her education through university so that she can use her talents and skills to help others. Despite coming from a community that often does not foster women’s confidence, Fauziya performed exceptionally well throughout high school.

The Duolingo English Test and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) launched the Duolingo University Access Program which made this possible.

In 2022-2023, the DET selected 25 refugee students living in India, Iraq, Myanmar, South Africa and so on. A second cohort of scholars was recently selected for the programme.

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