On the 24th of February 2016, our guest students from the January intensive language period joined us at Amsterdam University College. Most of them traveled from camps located in various parts of the Netherlands such as Wageningen or Arnhem. Regrouping all our guest students was quite a challenge: indeed, due to the instability of their status, they could be moved at any given moment and anywhere.
Fortunately an overwhelming majority managed arrive on time (even early!) to the ceremony thanks to our volunteer drivers. They were welcomed by host Ellen Ackroyd and team members Nini Pieters and Els van Dam. Moreover, many other personalities were welcomed to the event including a representative from the European Commission on Racism and Intolerance and one form the municipality.
The ceremony was initiated by Ramon Puras, vice Dean at AUC and followed by a short portrayal of experiences and the journey of Right2Education given by members of the student team. Talks revolving around the topic of the emergence of refugee initiatives in Amsterdam and in the educational realm were presented by several figures as well as a musical interlude in which AUC students performed “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.
Lastly, the certificates were handed out by official Dutch teachers and student teachers. All our guest students received this alongside a rose. As members of the Right2Education team, we cannot help but feel proud and profoundly honoured to be witnesses of such events. The refugees, who we refer to as guest students, were indeed being given their language proficiency certificate but in reality, we were also receiving a gift. The proud smile on each of their faces which they truly deserve to wear with confidence was something truly remarkable. We feel so privileged to be not only in an environment allowing us to create such an initiative, supported by AUC management, but also to be considered a part of a community in which two parties, both very different, are united by a love of learning and studying.
We are excited for what the future holds and we wish our dear friends the best of luck in their studies!