Celebrating the resilience of students seeking sanctuary during Refugee Week

Celebrating the resilience of students seeking sanctuary during Refugee Week

Refugee Week celebrates the contributions, creativity, and commitment of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

At New City College, we take pride in supporting and welcoming students who are refugees, as well as other international students, into our learning community.


Refugee Week – 17 to 23 June 2024 – is a time for us to focus on students who have come from various regions around the world, each with significant stories. These students range from young people to adult learners and come from regions such as Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Syria.

The theme this year for Refugee Week 2024 is ‘Our Home’. From the places we gather to share meals to our collective home, planet earth: everyone is invited to celebrate what our Our Home means to them.

Home can be more than one place and finding it can be a journey, as it is for so many who have to leave their countries and rebuild their lives. Sometimes home can be found in a single person. Other times it’s in a whole community. And often, it’s in a single gesture of care and welcome.

New City College is proud to welcome students who are refugees and is dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing, and inclusive learning environment for all.

The college has many success stories involving refugees and these stories reflect the profound impact of the support NCC gives – helping them achieve their goals and providing them with vital skills and direction in their new lives.

One of our standout students is Tamara Denishchuk, winner of the Mathematics Student of the Year at our Student Achievement Awards last year. Tamara first joined NCC as an asylum seeker from Kazakhstan in 2019. Despite language difficulties, she has worked hard to build her knowledge and qualifications, attending every Maths class without fail. Tamara is an independent, competent, responsible, and courteous student who displays a high degree of integrity. Her tremendous personal growth over the course of her time at NCC is a testament to her dedication and ambition, and we are confident she will excel in whatever she pursues.

Another inspiring student is Rawda Alnajm, the winner of the Group Principal and CEO Award for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to College Life. Rawda was born in Syria and faced significant challenges when she moved to Turkey and later to the UK. Despite the hardships and language barriers, she has achieved a Distinction in Level 2 Science and a strong result in GCSE English. Rawda aspires to become a surgeon to help those in need and give back to the community that welcomed her. Her resilience, passion, and commitment to her education are truly admirable, and she is determined to make her family proud by succeeding in her future endeavours.

Rawda is the type of student who ensures others are able to have opinions and are listened to. She is passionate, aspirational and hardworking – someone who speaks truth to power and challenges what she sees as injustices.

Rashid Khan (young learner from Afghanistan)

“It was such a great experience at NCC. I remember when I joined, my English was not very good. I was not even comfortable writing or speaking. However, after some time at NCC and with great teachers like Danielle and Sonja who helped me with my English and Maths, I improved and I am very grateful to them.

“NCC is a fantastic place. I had a great time meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and hearing about their countries. It was very interesting.”


Shabnam Ali (IT Level 3 adult student from Afghanistan)

“I have found the teaching and student support both very helpful and convenient. I have had a very good experience with the teachers such as Sonja, Andy, and Maria.

“I have improved my language skills, my computer skills, and my confidence since studying at NCC. I have enhanced my English language abilities and gained knowledge about computers, which will help me build a good career. Thank you.”


Parwin Mohammed (ESOL student from Kurdistan) 

“Like many other people, I came to the UK to achieve my goals. Each of us has different purposes, reasons, and, of course, different goals, but we share the same country. We all encounter many issues, and perhaps the most difficult one is how to use the language and communicate with others. My language wasn’t bad as I am educated, but I wasn’t confident enough to use it. NCC helped me a lot with that. I am studying ESOL and have been studying for 3 years.

“The teachers are helpful and patient and the curriculum is helpful as well. I totally believe that this is going to help me in the future in many aspects, such as education or even daily life requirements.”

Parwin is from a refugee background, having moved from Kurdistan to be with family in the UK.

Support Refugee week by deepening your knowledge and sharing a story. Two websites where you can learn more are UNHCR and Refugee Week.

We will be posting some of the stories above on our college social media channels throughout the week. Please like, comment and share to your followers.