UEA scholarship will allow Syrian student to pursue her dreams

Syrian refugee Enana Alassaf is hoping to complete her PhD at the UEA.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Syrian refugee Enana Alassaf is hoping to complete her PhD at the UEA.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

As a student, Enana Alassaf endured hardships which would cause many people to give up on their dreams.

The 26-year-old Syrian refugee spent much of her undergraduate degree at Aleppo University surrounded by war.

But her dedication has now been recognised in the form of a £21,000 scholarship and bursary by the University of East Anglia.

It will allow Mrs Alassaf, who lives in Norwich, to finally begin studying for a PhD in the School of Pharmacy.

Earlier this year she had sought to crowdfund her doctorate at the UEA as she had been unable to return to her war-torn country.


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Almost 100 people donated more than £2,500 to help her pursue her dreams.

But after receiving the scholarship, Mrs Alassaf now plans to give the money to three medical students still studying in Aleppo.

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'These three students were my friends when I was a volunteer at a hospital in Aleppo,' she said. 'But they cannot afford to graduate now.

'They are really brilliant, and worked at the hospital day and night while studying. I thought this would be a good opportunity to help them too.'

Mrs Alassaf moved to Norfolk in 2014 to study for a masters degree in molecular medicine at the UEA.

She said it was her dream to work in research and use her knowledge to help people in both the UK and in Syria.

Speaking about receiving the scholarship, she added: 'I was so happy when I saw that email. I had been really stressed before as I was not sure what I should do.

'I just need to get on and start my own research now.'

The scholarship will cover her tuition and lab fees for the next three years.

But she will still need to secure a part-time job in order to pay for her accommodation – something she is more than happy to do.

Through the crowdfunding campaign, which is now dedicated to helping the three medical students, Mrs Alassaf wants to raise $5,000 for each one.

She said once they graduate, they will be able to specialise and continue rescuing people in the horrific conditions they face.

A UEA spokesman said: 'Enana was offered the refugee scholarship because she met all the qualifying criteria and we received such great references for her from New Routes, the charity that was working with her in Norwich to try to enable her to continue with her studies.

'In addition, she had already been a student with us and the teaching staff were very keen to enable her to carry on.'

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/enana-assaf

Anyone able to offer Mrs Alassaf a job should email a_anana@hotmail.com

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