Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme Initiative (DAFI)

Since 1992, the German Government has financed the annual Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), which aims to help young refugees around the world to start or continue their higher education.

The DAFI Scholarship Programme for Refugees aims to support qualifying and academically strong young refugee men and women who meet the requirements to access higher education in their country of asylum. The DAFI scholarship aims to empower young men and women equally to contribute knowledge, skills and leadership to the refugee community, and to facilitate peaceful coexistence, social cohesion, and the development of host communities during displacement. To achieve this, each sponsored student is expected to contribute to their community and society not only through their academic and professional careers, but also through their personal engagement, supporting and inspiring other community members, especially refugee children and youth.

Closed for 2024

The UNHCR has centralised the application process for the global DAFI Scholarship Programme by introducing the DAFI Online Platform, which the HQ Education Unit has confirmed is ready to be used. The platform will streamline the application and data management processes for the DAFI scholarship programme.

The DAFI online platform will be used for;

1) Application for DAFI scholarships – ALL applications will now be done online via the platform.

2) Pre-screening/shortlisting of DAFI scholarship applications – Screening for eligible applications for the next step in the selection process.

3) Reviewing and selection of DAFI applications

4) Awarding the scholarships – communication to the selected candidates on the awarding of scholarships will be made through the system.

5) Managing DAFI Scholarship online data.

Who can apply

To be eligible, candidates should normally meet all the following criteria:

  • Only persons in possession of a valid Refugee permit/Section 24 permit will be considered
  • Applicants must have successfully completed secondary school with grades above the average standard
  • Applicants must have no other means of support for tertiary education studies
  • Undergraduate applicants should be below 35 years of age
  • Only applicants who successfully applied for admission to a government or public institutions for full time studies will be considered. A valid letter of admission or provisional admission letter must be uploaded.
  • Scholarships for certain study courses, such as medicine or engineering, are granted on a case-by-case basis and normally only to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance.

Bursary details

The DAFI scholarship is provided strictly for one academic year subject to performance but may be extended subject to availability of funds, satisfactory academic achievement and participation in DAFI programme activities such as the DAFI Alumni Club and community engagement projects.

 The DAFI Scholarship will cover costs (capped) for the following:

  • Annual registration/tuition fees;
  • Annual book allowance;
  • A monthly subsistence allowance covering basic expenses, such as food, local travel and rent during the semester;
  • A monthly data allowance;
  • Medical Aid.

Selection criteria

Due to financial constraints, only a limited number of scholarships are available. Applicants who satisfy minimum criteria will not automatically qualify for a Scholarship. Qualifying applicants who are not selected to join the programme are encouraged to take initiatives for identifying alternative sponsorship.

  • The selection of students to be awarded a DAFI scholarship takes place once a year and is conducted by the DAFI Selection Committee which consist of representatives from UNHCR, StudyTrust, UNISA, and the German Embassy.
  • The main criteria used in the selection of successful applicants are academic potential and a consideration of background conditions.
  • Applicants must have achieved an average of 65% and above for their undergraduate degree.
  • The DAFI programme does not support studies at Masters level.

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R1 billion+ in bursaries to students

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StudyTrust is an educational trust and public benefit organisation, that connects learners with potential to their study opportunities.

We administer bursaries and scholarships, provide mentoring and support to help tertiary students thrive academically and personally.


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