Access to Higher Education and Training

Photo of women graduating from Ahfad university

Core to our work is enabling access to higher education and training to those from conflict affected communities.  Since the Windle Trusts were formed we have supported the education of disadvantaged and talented students through scholarships at postgraduate and undergraduate level.  Through access to higher education and our other programmes we promote the education of girls and women. In Sudan we support a hostels project to enable girls and young women to continue their university education. Around 70% of scholarships are awarded to girls through our undergraduate scholarship programme

We believe supporting access to higher education is essential for developing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for individuals to take charge of their own lives and societies to grow.

In many conflict affected communities, particularly amongst refugees, International support focuses on basic needs. Higher education in particular is often neglected despite educational opportunities often being cited as one of the highest priorities of refugee communities as the “the key to the future” and sense that “education brings stability and hope”. By enabling access to higher education to those in communities most marginalised by conflict we aim to promote greater equality and invest in those who will inspire others to pursue their education, become positive role models and put their education to use for the benefit of others.

Supporting higher education:

  • Is an important investment in professional skills development, such as teacher training and to build the cadre of qualified human resources for development
  • Benefits not just the individual supported but their families and wider society.  Over 95% of our former scholarship students felt that their families and communities had benefited from their scholarship. 
  • Encourages supported students to work for the benefit of their communities and provides positive role models to motivate other young people to pursue education and their families to keep children in school 
  • Promotes economic growth as high levels of education are needed for technically sound political and business leadership, and for a country to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy. This is particularly important in economies dominated by natural resources for helping build the institutions necessary to manage wealth generated without corruption
  • Challenges the way we think. Over 95% of students participating in our scholarships review said their values or attitudes had changed as a result of their educational support and scholarship experience. Greater appreciation and respect for cultural diversity and the values and opinions of others is most mentioned as well as increased positivity, a stronger sense of community spirit, and more critical thinking and analytic skills.  Words used by former students to describe changes in values, attitudes and behaviour.

Hear from our former students

“With improved salary I am able to support my family better than before, providing them with better shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education etc. I am able to pay two of my children’s tuition in Ugandan universities. Besides my children, I am paying fees for other extended family members in Uganda and I am constructing a good house for my family too”. (Former UK postgraduate scholar)

“Over the years I have gained experience and matured in my thinking; the programme keeps challenging me to give back to my community. More than before I think about my country’s wellbeing, and my community’s development, instead of thinking about my individual needs as a person or just my immediate family.” (Former UK postgraduate scholar)

“Before I was participating I thought the benefit of my education is for me and my family only but now I learned that I can help my community and others by my education”. (Former Sudan undergraduate scholar)

“I am helping my local church with managing their finances through the skills acquired and also training others to do the same job after I leave. All the international NGOs I have worked for are involved in provision of services to the community members to help them improve their incomes and livelihood so that they are able to meet basic needs of life.” (Former UK postgraduate scholar)

A graphic of positive words

Words used by former students to describe changes in values, attitudes and behaviour