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King's Sanctuary Programme


The Sanctuary Programme is the collective response of the King’s community of staff and students to the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has witnessed since the Second World War: with 60 million refugees fleeing from Syria and other conflict zones.


Recognising that this displacement impacts particularly on young people, disrupting their education and potentially creating a ‘lost generation’ with few prospects. King’s is deploying its expertise in education, its problem-solving ability, its online resources, its knowledge of the region and its leadership skills to initiate and lead projects that will help prevent that scenario and create positive opportunities.

At the same time, King’s recognises that this programme will increase understanding of migration issues and the refugee crisis among its own staff and students, providing them with education and development opportunities along with the chance to make a personal contribution. Working with international partners who share King’s principles of inclusivity, stewardship, and unrelenting ambition, we can support innovative interventions to make the world a better place.

At the core of the Sanctuary Programme initiatives will be student-driven learning and pedagogical innovation to design interventions unlike any others being implemented around the world. King’s will support our active and engaged student body to develop co-authored responses to the refugee crisis.

 Dentists in Calais

So far, King's staff and students have...

  • Commenced a cross-institutional refugee education programme in Jordan and Lebanon; The Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access (PADILEIA) programme
  • First year Dental students have volunteered in Lebanon and third year Dental Institute students Salman Sheikh, Obaid Khalid and Yousuf Bashir travelled to Calais and Dunkirk to volunteer their services to people in the refugee camps in Northern France 
  • King's has awarded five sanctuary scholarships over the past two academic years to talented refugees to study for an undergraduate degre
  • King’s is a member of CARA, the Council for At-Risk Academics, which offers academics in danger solidarity and support to reach a place where they can work in safety. King's regularly hosts CARA scholars.

  • Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries, Lecturer in International Relations, is co-investigator on a project to document migration trajectories across Europe from the different points of entry in Europe up towards the UK, focusing on transit points along this route

  • KCL STAR (Student Action for Refugees) now has over 80 volunteers who are doing lots of work to support refugees and are one of the most active societies at KCLSU. Over the past few weeks they have:
    • hosted a panel event with LGBT+ refugees and ex-detainees, raising awareness of the issues around LGBT+ asylum in the UK
    • held collections for personal hygiene and beauty products at King’s Strand campus for refugee women in Calais
    • run an outreach programme at a London school to help recently-arrived young refugees complete their GCSE and A Level qualifications
    • run weekly clubs for refugee and asylum seeking children in Battersea, South London, helping young refugees with homework and personal development as well as organising day trips for them
  • Mashrufa Begum Miah, President of KCL MyLifeMySay, has created the Refugee Outreach project for children aged 16-18. Volunteers have been teaching younger refugees the life skills they will need when they leave school such as CV workshops and mock interviews. Mashrufa is also a volunteer at Refugee Action as part of their Embassy Liaison team
  • George Govedarica has developed RefHub, an app that helps refugees find housing and matches up people willing to house refugees with those in need. The project won first prize at the HackGenY hackathon
  • Members of the KCL Students4Syria society are raising funds with partner charities for humanitarian aid and medical supplies as well as hosting informative sessions to educate students about the Syrian crisis. During one fundraising campaign in February, they raised over £5,000 in just five hours.
  • Conor O'Halloran set up 'King's2Calais' and has led trips to support refugees at 'the Jungle' in Calais, with medical students providing check-ups.


How you can get involved

If you are a King's member of staff or student and you are involved in any kind of related activity, get in touch at

If you are a student and would like to get involved, you can join one of the KCLSU societies supporting the cause such as KCL STAR or Students4Syria.

You can also donate to charities such as the British Red Cross and Save the Children.


Key Contacts

Director of the Sanctuary Programme and Head of the School of Global Affairs - Professor Bronwyn Parry


King’s Public Relations

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