Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Durham STAR is now part of the national network of universities working to improve the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Durham STAR held their first activities during Action for Refugees Week 2010.
We and every other student across the country who are also part of STAR at their universities believe this is absolutely unreasonable because asylum seekers cannot afford these fees or living costs… did you know they receive £35.13 to live on a week? Did you also know they are not allowed to work in paid employment whilst they are waiting for the government to decide if they can stay in the country or not? Some people have been waiting over ten years…- Alisha Kanabar, Durham STAR
Durham STAR is promoting STAR’s national ‘Equal Access’ campaign which calls on Vice-Chancellors of all UK universities to allow asylum seekers to pay “home fee” rate of £3,225. Asylum seekers and some refugees are classified as overseas students and have to pay fees of up to £20,000 per year. STAR believes that this is unacceptable as asylum seekers are not allowed to apply for student loans, grants and most bursaries nor are they are not allowed to work in the UK. STAR university members are campaigning across the UK for asylum seekers to join them as equals at university.
On Thursday 25th February Durham STAR set off from Durham market square and walked up to the main library in white boiler suits and masks. Their masked faces represented ‘voiceless’ asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. The boiler suits had short attention grabbing asylum facts written on the front and back and attracted a lot of attention!
The marchers stood facing the main road holding up the STAR banner. STAR members that were not wearing boiler suits talked to members of the public, answered their questions and encouraged them to sign the Equal Access petition.
During the march Durham STAR also handed out “myth busters” leaflets. They were short, easy to read leaflets and designed to give people quick facts about refugees and asylum seekers.
Most of the people that Durham STAR approached showed interest and many of them did not hesitate to sign the petition- a few even wished the group good luck!
Durham STAR is now aiming to get university staff members to endorse the Equal Access campaign and to get 1,000 signatures before they meet with their Vice-Chancellor
Durham have more upcoming events including film socials, presentations and cinema outings with young asylum seekers.
Posted by Communications on 31/03/2010 at 01:22 PM
in Group News
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