Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Lene from London Met STAR writes about what motivated her to get involved and her volunteering in local schools advising young refugees about attending university.
Lene has been involved with STAR since 2009 and is part of the committee of STAR at London Metropolitan University. She has participated in a school-volunteering project in early 2010 and is now volunteering at the STAR National Office.
Lene, London Met
I became involved with STAR last year, after attending the STAR National Conference in November 2009. To be honest, I had not heard of STAR until my “Peace and Conflict Studies” course leader sent us an e-mail about the Conference. Since I have a strong interest in Human Rights and am interested in issues related to migration and refugees, I signed up for the Conference immediately.
At the conference I met other students from my university (London Metropolitan University), who were all equally motivated to set up a STAR group at London Met, probably one of the most diverse universities in terms of students’ nationalities and backgrounds. As London Met is one of the few universities that allow asylum seekers to pay home fees, there are many refugees or asylum seeking students.
Since there was no STAR group at London Met before, our main efforts went (and still go) towards raising awareness about STAR around the university. We held some introductory events and had a week of STAR promotion in order to “recruit” members.
At the same time, we were offered to participate in a voluntary project in local schools with high numbers of refugee and asylum seeking students (together with “Refugee Project”). The project consisted of us holding workshops about going to university in the UK, relating our personal story of how we got to university and giving students the opportunity to ask us questions about life at uni, as well as providing them with details of people who could give them legal or financial advice.
It was a great project through which I realised how privileged I am to be able to go to the university I want and, as a European student, pay home fees in the UK.
This year I hope to take part in another volunteering project because it is vitally important that we as students raise awareness about the issues and injustice that refugees and asylum seekers face in this country.
STAR offers great opportunities for us students to be a part of making a difference for people just like us, who have had to leave their countries, friends, and even families.
They have come to the UK for a better life free from persecution or war, but are often treated like criminals or otherwise not granted the rights that they have to receiving an education and living a life in dignity.
We may not be able to stop the wars in the countries of origin of asylum seekers and refugees, but we are able to help them in fighting for their rights and making sure that their hardship is not overlooked.
London Metropolitan STAR
Posted by STAR team on 17/11/2010 at 03:26 PM
in Group News
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