On Tuesday the 17th of November at 6pm we will be celebrating the latest round of our bursary beneficiaries at a special webinar.

You will get the chance to hear from two of our inspiring bursary beneficiaries, Pam and Samuel*, the director of PoC, Gary Allison, as well as a reading of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Caged Bird’ by Zoë Wanamaker. The event will be chaired by Victoria Brittain, former associate foreign editor of the Guardian and vice-chair of Prisoners of Conscience.

Pam is an ambitious young girl from Thailand who was forced to make an impossible choice. Either give up all her dreams and aspirations and stay in Thailand; continue campaigning for democracy and face a 10-year sentence; or leave the country and everything she knew and loved behind. She chose the latter. Pam is now studying a Masters in International Relations at LSE, with the help of a PoC grant, and continues to advocate for democracy and human rights through volunteering and campaigning.

Samuel* is a musician and manager of a pro-democracy reggae band from Africa, which challenged injustice and authoritarianism through its music. The band’s songs were about reconciliation, justice, freedom and anti-corruption in a country that has experienced much ethnic violence. For that they were threatened and persecuted by the government. Samuel* managed to escape to the UK, where he was able to complete a course on Construction Project Management at Liverpool John Moores University with the help of PoC.

If you would like to hear Pam and Samuel* talk about their experiences, you can register your interest via this link here. Once you have registered, we will then send you joining instructions. On the day of the event, all you need to do is click on the link provided and you will join the webinar.

Similarly to Pam and Samuel*, many of those who seek refuge in the UK are highly qualified  professionals but are not able to access employment because their qualifications are not recognised. Our bursary scheme offers grants to prisoners of conscience to help them pay for post-graduate education and re-qualification, which in turn assists them to secure employment on a level commensurate with their skills and experience. This scheme is complemented by our Employability Panel of specialist organisations which helps individuals to access meaningful employment opportunities.

Established in 2001, our Bursaries Fund has awarded 200 grants, with past and current recipients including human rights defenders, doctors, lawyers, environmental activists, writers and academics who come from all over the world. For the academic year 2020/21 we have awarded 8 bursaries at a cost of £30,000. We fundraise each year so that we can continue to provide these life-changing grants and are incredibly grateful for the donations we receive from generous individuals and charitable trusts.  

The full list of bursary recipients for 2020/21 is as follows:

*names have been changed to protect the individual

In the words of Pam, “Please thank the donors of Prisoners of Conscience. Please thank them a great deal. Because I couldn’t do this course if it wasn’t for the grant you gave me. It is you who has helped make this happen.”  

*denotes a pseudonym. Prisoners of Conscience takes extreme care to protect its beneficiaries, and their families, many of whom are vulnerable to continued persecution if their identities or locations are made public

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