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GRADUATE GIVING - CLASS OF '20 DOVER

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This year the G12 students have decided to support The UWC Refugee Initiative.

Lack of access to education is a major issue affecting young refugees, internally displaced and persecuted people. They are five times more likely to be out of school than the rest of us. Refugee communities need future leaders with strong abilities, social consciousness and drive for peace and reconciliation.   
 
This is why UWC launched the UWC Refugee Initiative, which aims to raise the funds for an additional 100 scholarships per year for refugee students.

WELCOMING IDPS THROUGH THE UWC REFUGEE INITIATIVE

At a time when others may be closing doors or building walls, UWCSEA affirms its commitment to bringing children of the world together to learn, reflect and grow through the Scholarship Programme. Right now our UWCSEA community of generous parents, students, staff and alumni, as part of community giving and class gifts to the UWC Refugee Initiative, or through major donations, are supporting six young refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) - three of them are here at UWCSEA.

 
Manaw, IDP scholar from Myanmar
 
For Manaw, unrest and fear of persecution (her father was a former political prisoner) meant the family fled Myanmar to a refugee camp across the Thai border when she was just a young child. Eventually, returning home and resettling in a new area, her sense of resilience and determination helped her look forward to a brighter future, determined to play her part. 
 
What were your first thoughts when arriving at UWCSEA?
I was really nervous and super excited at the same time. However, everyone there was just as excited and nervous as I was! Then, after talking and getting to know them better, I felt comfortable around them. I believe I will gain not only in experience but also in a variety of different ways of thinking. Studying here is already a huge turning point for me. I have never dreamed of getting such a big opportunity as this one, and to be able to experience it feels like a miracle to me.

What would you like to share with the UWCSEA community?
I would like to thank the donors for giving me the scholarship and the opportunity to let me study here. I can say that this two years will be the best and happiest years of my life. Even though everything is new and difficult for me, I am willing to take risks, challenge myself and push my boundaries and limitations! Again, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity and I will use the knowledge I learn here for the good of my community, society, and country.

 
Yelyzaveta, IDP scholar from the Ukraine
 
Yelyzaveta is a fine academic scholar, but far beyond that, she is an extraordinary young woman, deeply committed to making the world a better and more peaceful place. When civil war came to her town and the family was forced to flee, she learnt first-hand the brutality and fear of dislocation and forced relocation. Yet she steadfastly chooses to see a better future, and is determined to play her role in making it a reality. 
 
What were your first thoughts when arriving at UWCSEA?
Straight after I arrived on campus I went to the first meeting of all the new students. I saw lots of new faces shining with excitement and joy. It was absolutely incredible to see so many new people, from different parts of the globe, speaking a variety of languages but sharing the same values as me. I have never said “Ukraine" so many times before, nor have I ever heard such a number of other countries' names in response. Everybody was friendly and welcoming, and I knew that I was in the right place.

How being part of the diverse UWCSEA community impacts your experience?
I think living and studying in such a diverse community will develop my critical thinking, to help me see the world from different perspectives, and show how much we all have in common – and how we can change the world for the better by working together. I already feel how my vision of the world is changing and no longer are there any 'faraway countries' that I do not care about. I believe that UWC experience will improve my leadership, learning and cooperation skills which will help me to achieve my personal and work goals. I really wish that more young people were able to feel what I feel and get the opportunity to make their beautiful dreams come true!

 

Wera, IDP scholar from Myanmar
 
For G11 scholar Wera, life in the gleaming metropolis of Singapore couldn’t be more different from his early childhood experiences – first in Myanmar, and then as a refugee in Thailand.
 
Born in a sleepy town, set amidst lush rice paddies, bat-filled mountain caves and crumbling golden monasteries in the beautiful Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar, Wera’s early years were spent skipping along the dusty paths between school, his mother’s small shop, and the fields beyond where his father worked the land. But life took a dramatic turn at just six years old when turbulent times in the country meant his father, who was a community leader, had to flee with his young family across the border into Thailand.
For the next eight years, ‘home’ became a refugee camp. It was here that Wera’s extraordinary spirit of resilience and determination was carved out of the challenges and hardships he faced. For it was in the camp that Wera’s passion for social change and community building took root. As a young leader, he worked on environmental projects to ensure a safe and clean community, and developed recycling initiatives. Eventually returning to his beloved homeland, Wera, settled into back into school and daily life – with his eyes opened to the possibilities of positive change and his heart committed to serving others.
 
Academically focused and self-motivated, young Wera began to dream about becoming a programmer to help bridge the digital divide. The opportunity for him to study at UWCSEA was life changing. He found his proverbial ‘tribe’, when he earned a scholarship to this College of young changemakers. The College educates students to learn and appreciate their differences, whilst promoting equality, tolerance, and critical thinking, with an explicit aim to contribute to the reconstruction of post-conflict societies.
 
“When I arrived at UWCSEA, I had never seen such a huge school with such a beautiful campus and facilities. It was incredible to meet students from so many different countries who spoke so many different languages. The teachers and everyone in this community are kind, helpful and open-minded. It’s like I belong to a very big family in the boarding house. I have really good roommates – from Lithuania and Kazakhstan – who also love Computer Science; they help and motivate me.
 
When I was a high school student in my country, we rarely learnt through discussion or questioning. All I had to do was memorise things. Here at UWCSEA, every class is based on discussion and this is amazing. I’ve gotten to know more about myself and it really helps improve my learning. I’m so grateful for this scholarship, it’s set me on a path to a very different future – for me, and my community.”