Yahya, a young man from Pakistan, arrived in the UK seeking safety when he was 18 years old. Being in the UK provided Yahya with safety and a chance to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. But life as an asylum-seeker also brought uncertainty, instability, and financial challenges, which almost forced Yahya to abandon his education. This is the story of how, with a little support from Hope for the Young’s Grants and Advocacy Programme and a lot of strength and determination, Yahya broke down the barriers standing in his way, to complete a degree in Law.
Yahya arrived in the UK seeking safety when he was 18 years old. For Yahya, seeking asylum in the UK has been a rollercoaster of a journey, filled with a mix of emotions and experiences which he describes as a “blend of challenges and opportunities.”
On the one hand, Yahya felt a strong sense of gratitude – he was safe in the UK, and had a chance to pursue his education and professional goals. On the other hand, though, living as an asylum-seeker in the UK brought with it a lot of uncertainty and a great many challenges, which left Yahya longing for stability and a sense of belonging.
The asylum process brings its own set of challenges, and navigating life in a new country, understanding different cultures, and learning to adapt to a new environment can be overwhelming at times.
There's a continuous yearning for a sense of belonging while building a new life in a place that's still unfamiliar.
For Yahya, the greatest challenge of all was that his status as an asylum-seeker made securing consistent access to education very difficult.
For as long as he could remember, Yahya had always imagined himself studying Law and becoming a Solicitor. And so, after passing his GCSE’S with exceptional grades and taking an Access to Business course, Yahya applied to study an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) at university.
Education to me means empowerment and opportunity.
However, as an asylum-seeker, Yahya did not have access to student finance, and was therefore unable to access higher education without alternative sources of funding. This left him feeling stressed and frustrated.
When searching online for funding options available to him, Yahya discovered Hope for the Young’s Grants and Advocacy Programme. He reached out to Pamela, our Grants and Advocacy Coordinator, and initiated the application process.
A few weeks later, Yahya heard back that his application was successful. He had received a grant towards his tuition fees, which alleviated some of his financial burdens and allowed him to continue his education.
When the academic year started and Yahya found himself struggling to afford the high cost of travelling to his university lectures, he received an additional small grant from Hope for the Young to cover his travel expenses.
Receiving the grant from Hope for the Young has filled me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief. This assistance has instilled a profound sense of hope and motivation, empowering me to pursue my academic goals with renewed vigour and optimism.
Another challenge Yahya faced was not being able to gain the work experience he needed to further his career in Law. This is because in the UK, asylum-seekers over the age of 18 are not allowed to take part in work experience, even if that work experience is unpaid.
Yahya did not let this deter him, though. Instead, he took up various volunteer roles, using his free time to volunteer with a legal clinic and another charity, which allowed him to learn, stay connected to the legal field, and contribute to the community.
I’ve actively sought solace and empowerment through volunteering.
In addition to financial support, Yahya also received practical and emotional support from our Grants and Advocacy Coordinator.
This included identifying additional sources of funding to support him through his undergraduate degree, as well as finding and applying for scholarships to study a Master’s after graduating.
The Hope for the Young team's dedication and encouragement have been invaluable, creating a nurturing environment that extends beyond financial assistance. Their support has been an uplifting force, offering more than just financial help but also a sense of belonging and encouragement, which has been instrumental in shaping my educational journey.
Two years after joining Hope for the Young as a grantee, Yahya completed his LLB degree and celebrated his graduation.
Yahya is now looking forward to starting an LLM (Master of Laws) course soon, which will allow him to specialise in Commercial and Environmental Law. Once he graduates from his Masters degree, Yahya hopes to make a meaningful impact in society by practising in these areas of law.
Yahya is a fierce advocate for displaced young people’s access to education. When asked why he believes people should support Hope for the Young’s Grants and Advocacy Programme, he said:
Supporting Hope for the Young is like getting an extra scoop of ice cream; it just makes everything better…. It’s like being the superhero in someone’s story, but instead of a cape, you get to wear a smile knowing you’ve made a real difference.
Throughout his journey to completing higher education, Yahya has faced every challenge he’s encountered with positivity, determination, and courage.
We are incredibly proud of everything Yahya has achieved, and would like to wish him the very best of luck in his Master’s degree and in his future career. We know he has an extremely bright future ahead of him!
We rely on donations to provide the small grants and tailored advocacy support that young people like Yahya need to access university and achieve their dreams.
Click the donate button below to transform a young asylum-seeker’s life today!