April 11, 2016

Student enrolments increase hope for future of Syria

Since SPARK began its scholarship programme for Syrian refugees in the surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq/Kurdistan and Turkey in 2015 over 1,517 students have been supported through higher education. Recent additional funding and the subsequent launch of the application website will increase enrolment and therefore the educational empowerment of Syrian migrants even further. After graduation Marwa, a student in Damascus expressed, ‘This scholarship for me was hope for a new beginning, I thought of the day I will go back to Syria and will be able to contribute and take an active role in rebuilding my beloved country.’


The historic city of Gaziantep near the border of Syria is the site of SPARK’s work in Turkey. A strong partnership has been formed with the University of Gaziantep where two scholarship programmes are running, supporting 124 students to date. Gaziantep University is important for Syrian students because it is the only university to offer courses in Arabic, many Syrian refugees otherwise struggle with the Turkish language and 100 students are currently taking Arabic courses. The scholarships offered cover the university fees and a monthly stipend and include courses such as Business Administration, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Food Engineering.


Currently in Lebanon 100 scholarship students are being supported through their studies, and a further 350 have graduated from short courses. SPARK has partnered with several institutions to offer these courses. Among these is the American Beirut University, the top ranking University of Lebanon, where various courses are offered such as associate project management, interior design, early childhood education, nursing, office routine and procedures. In addition, SPARK has also partnered with Alkayrwwan a private institution who agreed to take on 50 Syrian students on two-year vocational education courses and 100 on their short courses. The Asalam organisation also offers English language courses to students and two other universities The Lebanese International University and the Al Jinane University have enrolled 160 Syrian students in total.


In Iraq/Kurdistan SPARK is partnered with the Salahaddin Univeristy in Erbil, Duhok Univeristy, Sulaimaniyah University and Dilman college center. Across these institutions 262 students are enrolled in full time undergraduate degrees and further English language and vocational course are being developed. Enrollments are on-going and SPARK continues to search for local educational institutions that are willing to accept the scholarship students.

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