The Foundation’s partnership with UNHCR and the DAFI Programme started in 2014 and has since then supported over 400 Syrian refugees with university scholarships in Jordan and Lebanon. The Foundation helped launch the DAFI programme in Lebanon and is currently the largest private donor to the DAFI programme. The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) programme was launched in 1992 by UNHCR and the German Government and has supported over 14,000 refugees to date in 50 countries.
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. The partnership between the Saïd Foundation and UNHCR has resulted in an increased capacity to respond to needs and raising awareness of the unmet needs for tertiary education that Syrian refugees face. The partnership between UNHCR and the Saïd Foundation works towards realizing the vision of the DAFI programme: Young refugee women and men who possess a secondary education diploma are able to pursue higher education in their host country. With the qualifications they acquire, they can build a more secure future for themselves and their families and make informed life choices.
A university scholarship is a life-changing opportunity not just to the students but to their families as well, giving them the skills and tools to help rebuild their country when they return to Syria. The DAFI programme provides undergraduate refugee students with scholarships that cover a wide range of costs: from tuition fees and study materials, to food, transport and accommodation.
To support their academic achievements and skill development, DAFI scholars receive additional support through close monitoring, academic preparatory and language classes based on students’ needs, as well as psychosocial support, mentoring and networking opportunities.