A Trinity student organisation are planning to raise funds to enable third-level education for refugees in Ireland through a translation program, it was announced at the student council earlier this week.
Under the name “World for World”, the non-profit organisation outlined a project where a volunteer-based student-run translation service is meant to generate funding and awareness for the refugees’ situation, through a fund called the “Trinity Humanitarian Fund”. Hotels, international companies, and tourism agencies were mentioned as some of the possible users of the service.
The project was presented by Rosalie Engels, International Students Officer and a second year European studies student. Engels, together with Leon Kohl, a third year History and Political Science student who also spoke at the council.
While refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland are entitled to free primary and post-primary education, they are currently treated as international students regarding third-level education. A refugee would have to pay the international student fee of over €15,000 per year, if wishing to pursue third-level education in Ireland, Engels and Kohl told council.
Following a motion presented by Engels, mandating the TCDSU to promote refugee education, which council passed in October last year, Kohl thought of an initial project idea, and the two of them came together to outline “World for World”.
Kohl told council that while there are already some existing translation services in Dublin, these often offer their services at very high prices, as a reason to why there could be a market for the student-run service.
We recognise that there are currently a lot of barriers in place that prevent refugees and asylum seekers from studying, one of which are the horrendously high fees,” Engels later told Trinity News.
Engels and Kohl said: “we feel that we are in such a privileged position to be able to study here at Trinity, so we think that it is our duty to give back to those who have been forced to leave their countries due to war and persecution and whose lives have been disrupted because of that.”
At the end of the day, they claimed, “we’re all students and we can really sympathize with their situation and we hope that with this project and the Humanitarian Fund we will be able to impact their lives in a positive way.”
The group’s first meeting is to be held this Friday afternoon, and while a few people have already signed up to help out, the organization was still actively looking for more translators at the time of the council. International students and final year language students were mentioned as some of the potential volunteers.
Engels describes the project as an extension of her position as International Students Officer. “My mandate states that I should to ‘deal with the issues faced by international students in Trinity’ so I see this project as an extension of that mandate, so that it includes these international students that would like to continue their education in Trinity but under the current circumstance are not able to.”