Friday, March 08, 2019

Celebrating STAR Women

It’s International Women’s Day and we are celebrating all of the amazing women who are making a difference as part of the STAR network. For this blog I spoke to two of our current student leaders who are making incredible contributions to creating a more welcoming environment to people seeking asylum and those that have received refugee protection in the UK.

Meet Maryam!


Maryam is a Biomedical Science student at the University of York, the Volunteering Coordinator for York STAR and is passionate about improving asylum seekers’ access to university.

We asked Maryam how she got into university and she told us…

“I got into university through the Equal Access Scholarship which I applied to after being offered a place to study at university. When I was applying to universities I was still an asylum seeker, which meant that I didn’t have any access to government student loan or student finance to support my studies here and would have had to pay international tuition fees. I was lucky enough to hear about this scholarship and applied to it at 5 different universities and eventually got an offer from York!”

You can find out more about our Equal Access campaign here. Maryam is involved in campaigning and spreading awareness about the issue of access to higher education for asylum seekers and refugees, she recently spoke at two of our national conferences, and she has been very active at York University in the campaign to create more scholarships.

We asked Maryam what university means to her and she told us…
“I will always give credit to this scholarship for allowing me to grow academically and personally, and for giving me and my family hope at a time when we most needed it. This scholarship changes lives for the better and I’m fortunate enough to be one example of that.”

Meet Noa!


Noa is a 3rd year Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience student at Nottingham University. She is a vice president of the Nottingham STAR group.

This year, Noa was a key figure involved in setting up a new English Conversation class for women in partnership with the Nottingham Women’s Centre. Nottingham STAR already have a weekly English Conversation class but felt that they needed to a create a space for women and by women. The STAR group recognised that more needed to be done to provide an alternative space to their evening English Conversation class run with the Red Cross which is mainly attended by men.

Noa wanted to ensure that this project took into account the needs of women. Launched in February 2019, it runs on Wednesdays from 1-2:30pm rather than the evening to accommodate women who may have to pick up kids from school and take care of their families. There are already 10 women attending the group – Noa tells us that they have managed to create a lovely friendly atmosphere, where women are able to improve their English, make friends and socialise in an environment where they feel more comfortable.

We celebrate the difference that these two amazing STAR women are making!

Posted by STAR team on 08/03/2019 at 09:40 AM