Padworth College enrolling Syrian refugees in September
Padworth College is planning to welcome three Syrian refugees from September, following a successful collaboration between its 'sister college', Bishopstrow, and the Inspiring Futures Education (IFE) initiative.
Padworth and Bishopstrow are both members of the IFE.
Following the announcement of the first lockdown in 2020, the organisation signed three Syrian refugees – 15-year-olds Hadeel and Aseel, and 14-year-old Lujain – up to Bishopstrow's online teaching service.
The trio live in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon, and had previously been offered basic tuition via a dedicated refugee charity, Alsama.
There are limited educational opportunities available to the students in Lebanon beyond the secondary level, and the IFE thus stepped in to offer them the opportunity to study for GCSEs and A-levels at Padworth.
All three have long-term ambitions, with Hadeel, for instance, hoping to train as a maxillofacial dentist – a member of her family having been shot in the face in Syria.
Their study has to be fully-funded by external sources, and the college's in-house charity, as well as Alsama, are both assisting with grants worth a total of 40 per cent of school fees.
Members of the public are also being invited to contribute, including as 'Keystone Donors' – making a contribution of £10,000 or more – or through smaller provisions.
In all, £330,000 is required to cover the girls' schooling up to graduation.
Alternatively, local people may volunteer as mentors and guardians for the students, helping them settle into life in West Berkshire.
Further information on the scheme is available at Alsama's website.
An IFE spokesperson said: "The offers made to Hadeel, Lujain and Aseel were based on merit, demonstrated through the progress made over 12 months at Bishopstrow.
"This is a very exciting step for all of us at IFE, as hosting these students at Padworth will allow us to take an even more meaningful step forward in embracing global citizenship, which is at the core of our ethos.
"The girls are ambitious and would like to progress on to university, before returning to their communities in the Middle East."