The Need

Higher education in the UK is grossly underrepresented. According to the UK government “in the academic year ending July 2019, White people made up 77.3% of those in further education.” (GOV.UK: 2020). Students from diverse backgrounds often face barriers to access. Increasing representation is essential to combat discrimination, decolonise the curriculum and extend academic diversity beyond western hegemonic centres of knowledge. This, to exemplify today’s rich variety of students’ background.

The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased these vulnerabilities. Many students have struggled with loss of earnings, unsuitable home environments for learning, isolation and lack of equipment. Scholarships and bursaries have therefore become more important than ever.

“The onset of my Master’s coincided with the international pandemic, so lockdowns and restrictions have curtailed the conventional university experience. Even so, I am enjoying the journey immensely and have immersed myself entirely, utilising the confinement to reading and progressing my writing to the best of my ability. I have devoured the staff’s advice and criticism, and have been able to focus my attentions on improving, in the hope of furthering my aspirations in the literary field. My dissertation will be the birth of my novel, focussing on my Syrian female protagonist, and her journey through revolution on a national and personal level. With regards to longer term ambitions, it is my aspiration to transition through to journalism, something which I have been contributing to on a freelance level (most recent article: https://syriastories.net/en/ ). I have been accumulating a portfolio of published articles in order to further this ambition. I also volunteer as an editor with MirOnline.org. Gaining a place at Birkbeck was eventful, being awarded the scholarship was mind-blowing. I feel so utterly privileged to have been selected by the COSARAF Foundation. I am devouring every atom of this opportunity in the hope that I will endeavour to deserve it and to hopefully open the door to my dream of finding my place in the world of journalism.”
Miss Farrah
MA in Creative Writing, Winner of the 2020 COSARAF Foundation's Sheikh Family Scholarship.

Our Charity Partner

COSARAF Foundations through the Sheikh Family Scholarships programme collaborated with Birkbeck College, University of London. This alliance offered a postgraduate scholarship for the academic
year of 2020-2021, to a Muslim student, studying within the School of Arts.

Our Impact

Gift Agreement: £10,000

This academic year the scholarship has enabled and empowered one Muslim student to have the support and confidence to succeed on a creative writing MA programme at Birkbeck College. Alongside supporting the student, the scholarship also contributes to achieving better diversity within the Arts.

It will enrich Birkbeck College, the wider student body at University of London and later on professional creatives and other industry bodies. Bringing insight, fresh viewpoints and role models for future generations.

“We believe that if continued, the scholarship will encourage applications and enrolments to our School of Arts from other Muslim and underrepresented students. This in turn will improve diversity within the Arts...it has not just enabled her to study but given her further confidence to share and help others, through her own experiences. As a Creative Writing student in particular, her words will have influence beyond her time at Birkbeck”.
Charlotte Belson, Development Manager
Birkbeck College, University of London