The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF is the oldest refugee organization in the Netherlands, founded to support Czech students fleeing from the Soviet invasion. The foundation supports refugees in their studies and also functions to assist in finding their members suitable employment.
The UAF is one of the Netherlands’ foremost organization advocating for academic freedom and the rights of refugees all over Europe. Founded in the wake of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, today the organization supports refugees with grants and loans in order to allow them to attend courses of higher education. During their stays, the UAF advises participants as well as helps develop their language skills for academic purposes.
The organization promotes the interests of asylum seekers and refugees who aim to further their higher education. According the organization’s website, their mission statement is as follows:
The mission of the UAF is expressed in Article 2 of the Statutes. ‘Invoking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF aims to provide the necessary material and moral assistance to higher educated refugees from all parts of the world, who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution, have left their countries, and who have shown to have sufficient abilities, with the objective to let them continue and successfully finish their studies in the Netherlands, and to help them find a place in the labour market that matches their education as well as giving information with regard to the above mentioned target groups and activities.’
In order to qualify for The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF funding, participants must be recognized refugees or asylum seekers within the Netherlands. Since 2015, those seeking refuge in the European Union has doubled. Member states are calling for better reception in safe countries on the continent. The Netherlands has committed to receiving 7,000 of the 120,000 asylum seekers fleeing to Greece and Italy.