News December 1, 2018 by St Giles

St Giles partners with RefuAid

St Giles is very proud to announce a new partnership with RefuAid, a UK based charity aimed at supporting refugees in achieving their language education goals.

RefuAid focuses on three key barriers to access for refugees who are trying to restart their life in the UK: finance and re-qualification, language tuition and specialist employment advice. And it is with the language tuition where St Giles has offered support.

Through this new partnership, St Giles will help RefuAid students to gain language qualifications like IELTS and CAE, which can open doors to accessing higher education and professional re-qualification in the UK.  The students currently enrolled on RefuAid’s programme include healthcare professionals (dentists, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and a neurosurgeon!), lawyers, accountants, engineers, and prospective university students (ranging between undergraduate and PhD level). RefuAid support refugee students from 32 different nationalities.

So far, St Giles London Central, Highgate and Cambridge have received RefuAid students onto their programmes, and we hope to support students in Brighton and Eastbourne soon. And nothing can demonstrate the success of the programme better than the testimony of Omar and Zuheir, students placed on St Giles courses at London Central and Highgate respectively:

My name is Omar*. I am a chartered civil engineer from Iran. I came to the UK as an asylum seeker who fled from his home country. Like most asylum seekers and refugees, I have faced an enormous number of difficulties, such as language, accommodation, education and health care. The most critical issue was the English language, but unfortunately, there is no support from government and local authorities for someone like me. One day, I was browsing for IELTS classes for refugees through the internet, when I came across RefuAid. They helped to place me in St Giles International in London to study an IELTS preparation course. The school has been fantastic, and all the staff have been welcoming since day one like Rumana, Josh and Andy. They fully understood my situation and placed me on an IELTS program. The teachers at St Giles are experts at their job, and at the same time they try their best to help you as much as possible to approach your goals. I met a lot of amazing teachers there who supported me during my journey like Eddie and Aida. A big thank to the Principal, teachers and staff of St Giles International in London for this scholarship and the great opportunity. Finally, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you, all the staff at RefuAid and St Giles International, and to say that I will always remember you for my whole life.

My Name is Zuheir. I’m a 29 year old Lebanese filmmaker based in London. I wanted to enrol in a language school in the past but it was always too expensive for me as I was an asylum-seeker and had very little money. Someone told me about RefuAid, so I contacted them and managed to meet with them. They were super friendly and welcoming and promised to get me in an English course. RefuAid introduced me to St Giles Highgate school who offered me an English course for free. The teachers and staff at the school, especially Sally, Nick and Luke, were so nice, friendly and caring. Sally wasn’t only asking about my English course, she followed up with me about my asylum process and was always asking me if I’m happy at the school. In the advanced class the teachers were extremely good and they were really supportive of everyone in the class, making sure that everyone understood the lesson.

After finishing my course, I did my LanguageCert English exam and I got a High Pass level – this meant I was able to join an MA course. One month later I got my refugee status!

I can’t imagine how I would’ve done it without RefuAid and St Giles school.