Oxford students pledge £240,000 to refugee scholarships

Erica Aizzi, Thais Roque and Simao Laranjeira Image copyright Oxford University Images/Rob Judges
Image caption The campaign team, led by Thais Roque (centre), includes vice president Simao Laranjeira (left) and outreach officer Erica Aizzi (right)

An Oxford student's campaign to fund scholarships for refugees has led to nearly a quarter of a million pounds being pledged.

Thais Roque launched the Oxford Students Refugee Campaign in October to help people whose studies had been disrupted by war or persecution.

Her aim was to get fellow students to pledge £1 a month for two years.

She says 11,000 people have signed up, with pledges and donations exceeding £240,000 over the two-year period.

Ms Roque said much of her education - in Brazil, Germany, and her current doctorate in Biomedical Engineering - had been made possible by scholarships so she wanted to give something back.

'Last chance'

She said: "Oxford have a lot of programmes that help people from other social groups... but there has never been a scholarship for asylum seekers."

Now the money is coming in, the fund is working to identify potential candidates.

Ms Roque said: "The response has been overwhelming - in just a few days we have been bombarded with emails from young people desperate to continue their higher education and pursue what some of them call their last chance."

The first scholarships will be available in 2017/18, although the campaign is also hoping to help eight potential students who have been offered Oxford places this year.

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