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Welsh college launches Christmas scholarship fund for refugees

UWC Atlantic College

A college in south Wales has launched a scholarship fund for young refugees as part of a national charity Christmas challenge, which will see all donations matched pound for pound.

UWC Atlantic in Llantwit Major has been selected by The Big Give, the UK’s largest matched funding campaign, to feature in its annual Christmas fundraiser alongside other UK charities. The south Wales college aims to raise £34,250 in just one week, as part of a scheme to provide education opportunities to refugee children.

The internationally-renowned UWC Atlantic, founder of the UWC global education movement, will use the funds to support one young person coming to the college in 2023.

Donations will be matched by an anonymous UWC Atlantic alumni donor and one of The Big Give’s Champions – The Step Up Fund – meaning each donation will have double the impact. The total amount raised could therefore reach as much as £68,500.

Current student Yeva, who had to flee the war in Ukraine in February this year, said:

“Education for me is my passion. I appreciate the opportunity given to me at UWC Atlantic, and I appreciate the people and sense of community that is here.

“When you make donations to something like The Big Give, you are helping people from less privileged backgrounds to have the opportunity to study on an equal level with people from all over the world.”

Yeva features in a short video to publicise The Big Give campaign, alongside fellow students Obaid from Afghanistan, Tenzin from Tibet and Milad from Afghanistan, all of whom are refugees.

The college has a history of empowering other young people to become leaders of their communities when they return home.

Mai Al Qaisi, a Palestinian refugee who attended UWC Atlantic from 2007-09 and now works for Action Aid in Bethlehem, said:

“After receiving my education at UWC Atlantic and Exeter University, I was confident enough to believe that I could make a positive change in society. I returned to my hometown to inspire and support young refugees to strengthen their voices to become leaders in the future.

“Going beyond the two years at the college and putting my learnings into practices during the implementation of all my voluntary work and indeed throughout the rest of my life have improved my skills and values which I learnt at UWC Atlantic. I became empowered to take the next steps on the journey of being an active agent for positive change.”

Donations made to the campaign via the Big Give will be matched for seven days starting at 12pm on Giving Tuesday, 29 November 2022, until 12pm on Tuesday 6 December 2022.