University Gives Helping Hand to Syrian Students

Map of SyriaA retired member of staff of the University of Sheffield has provided seven Syrian postgraduate students with a grant so they can continue to study at the University and finish their degrees.

In 2012 the International Red Cross said the violence in Syria had become so widespread that it was announced to be in a state of civil war and it’s estimated that since March 2011, over 93,000 people have died. In a time of severe economic and political unrest, with funds from home regularly drying up, it has never been so important for the students we have at the University of Sheffield from Syria to receive help and support in which ever way we can provide it.

A generous grant of £600 each has been awarded to seven postgraduate students from Syria to provide them with emergency financial support. The students are at various stages in their postgraduate studies and although the students were receiving some money from home, for all of them, this money has stopped during various points this year. The students, who wish to remain anonymous, have felt very isolated and deeply concerned about the welfare of their families and their ability to be able to support themselves financially in order to continue studying. They have written to the donor to express their sincere thanks for the generous grant. Please see excerpts from two letters below…

"I am speechless !!!! I was thinking about my accommodation and how I am going to manage next month ..... seeing your email now is like a prayer come true !!! Having this support in this way through the university meant a lot to me .... an act of generosity and respect in a very crucial time ... can't say thank you enough .... THANK YOU”.

“Your money is much appreciated. I was financially secure when I started my PhD but the situation in Syria coupled with family members' losses put me under a huge financial pressure. It is not just the money which matters; it is the way I felt knowing that there are people who do care. This has raised my hopes at a time when it is most needed.”

For ten years, the former member of staff has made donations to the University, specifically to help international students through times of hardship. Through these donations we have, over the years, provided financial support to students from across the world, from Zimbabwe and Malta to Pakistan and China to help them through extremely difficult times such as civil wars and family crisis’ at home. These grants are funded entirely by philanthropic donations to the University of Sheffield Alumni Fund from this generous supporter.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni & Donor Relations adds, “At such a turbulent and fragile period, when many students are concerned about the welfare of their families and facing very difficult financial times, it is tremendous to be able to offer support and relief. We are truly honoured and delighted by the generosity of the donor and immensely proud that through this donation, we can provide support for our students to enable them to finish their degrees and fulfil their potential.”

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