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Sanctuary Scholarships: Supporting asylum seekers and their drive to learn

The Sanctuary Scholarships were formed in 2016 in response to the global issue of forced displacement, which affects more than 60 million people worldwide. Asylum seekers who have been granted limited leave to remain don’t have access to Student Finance, preventing most from pursuing an education in the UK.

The Sanctuary Scholarships are part of King's Sanctuary Programme. They are open to all, regardless of faith, political creed or nationality. The scholarships represent King’s commitment to equipping students for success and supporting them in reaching their potential. These scholarships include a full tuition fee waiver and help with living costs for the duration of the students’ courses.

Successful applicants receive either a Sanctuary Scholarship or a Jesus the Light Sanctuary Scholarship. The name ‘Jesus the Light’ is a celebration of the anonymous supporter’s own personal faith, compelling them to help others. It not only reflects King’s historic Church of England foundation, but also our diverse community of beliefs and backgrounds.

The Sanctuary Scholarships have a profound effect on students and show how philanthropy is creating more access to higher education.

Meet two of our Sanctuary Scholars

So far, King’s has offered 20 scholarships. Samuel and Judith share their journey to King’s and their experiences since embarking on their degrees.

samuel

Samuel’s story

Samuel Remi-Akinwale spent the year between school and his undergraduate degree on a gap year, because he was unable to access Student Finance or a student loan. In order to support himself and his family, he worked as a Google representative at phone retailers, while also developing his own social enterprise company.

Over the course of the year, Samuel’s hard work paid off. His own enterprise was contracted to deliver music workshops at Manchester Youth Zone. This is an experience Samuel credits as being responsible for the development of his professional skills, while also being an opportunity to work on a project which he feels passionate about.

He was then contracted as a project coordinator at Young Manchester, and tasked with creating and delivering a structure to engage young people in their governance and decision-making processes.

Part of our community

It was during this year that Samuel was awarded a Jesus the Light Sanctuary Scholarship. He had always known that he wanted to go to university.

'Going to university was never a decision; it always seemed like a necessary part of my journey, and this would not have been possible without this scholarship. My life would be on a different path: a path that would make it very difficult to pursue my ambition and grow academically.'

Going to university was never a decision; it always seemed like a necessary part of my journey, and this would not have been possible without this scholarship. My life would be on a different path: a path that would make it very difficult to pursue my ambition and grow academically.– Samuel Remi-Akinwale

Samuel, has become involved with all that King’s and London has to offer. He attended the One Young 2019 Conference in London with thousands of other people from around the world, which he singles out as a real highlight for him. He was honoured to meet so many innovators and activists willing to make sacrifices in order to make the world a more just, safe and equal place.

After feeling a little daunted at the scale of the conference, Samuel was quickly reassured by another King’s student. ‘He mentored me, helped me navigate the space and make the most of being at such a large conference.’

'Being a student at King’s gives me hope and equips me with the skills, knowledge and network that reassures me that I will have a positive impact on the world.'

Judith’s story

Judith Nantomah is in her third year of the Adult Nursing BA programme at King’s and is a Sanctuary Scholar. Before King’s, Judith had worked as a home healthcare worker for over five years and as a cleaner, which took its toll on her and her life.

judith-new

'It was very difficult. I had to juggle looking after my child in full- time education and do my cleaning job, which came at a heavy cost as I experienced some personal loss along the way. It pushed me to change my career path by enrolling in college, and this eventually led me to King’s.'

Removing financial burden

This decision to come to King’s is one that Judith says she will never regret. Her scholarship has ensured that she is able to access all the required components of the Nursing degree.

'Since I received my scholarship, I have been able to go on clinical placements and therefore not worry about being dismissed from my course. Transportation costs were a big issue. Without any other source of funds, I was always thinking of how far the very little I had could go or take me.'

Since I received my scholarship, I have been able to go on clinical placements and therefore not worry about being dismissed from my course. Transportation costs were a big issue. Without any other source of funds, I was always thinking of how far the very little I had could go or take me.– Judith Nantomah

The scholarship has removed the financial burden for Judith, who now doesn’t have to worry about how she will pay to attend her placements every day, and instead helps her to focus on her studies and pursue her passion for nursing. 

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