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University in Madrid starts 40 Afghans on the road to study – InfoMigrants

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A university in Madrid, which has been offering courses to young people from areas of conflict for five years, has given 40 Afghans the chance to start studying and learning vocational skills.
A private university in Madrid has given places for study and vocational skills to 40 Afghan students this year. The scheme is part of a program which has been running for five years already in Spain, called Integra.
Integra is co-financed by the European Union and the EU’s educational Erasmus project, as part of the Lifelong Learning Program. In Spain, at the Camillo José Cela University, the program was launched in 2016. Former graduates of the scheme have worked in companies like the banking group Santender. Across the EU, the project offers adult learning and flexible educational opportunities to refugees and asylum seekers and those who are fleeing conflict.
According to a press release from the European Union, the project targets migrants from within and from outside the EU. Much of the study is delivered through online learning, but in Madrid, the students start first with in-person language lessons, moving on to vocational courses in their second year.
Nasratullah Jabarkhil is one of the new intake. Interviewed by Euronews, his Spanish already sounds fairly fluent. Students who have good grades during the first year can choose to study other courses for free in Spanish universities, or progress to the second year when they are taught the vocational skills which aim to give them direct access to the job market.
Jabarkhil hopes to study “either law or computer engineering. I like law because it would allow me to integrate well in the country as I would learn the rules and the legislation here,” he tells Euronews. “I also like computer engineering because I’ve always liked technology.”
Another Afghan on the program, Nasir Rahimi, says he is looking forward to improving his Spanish skills, so he has a better chance of finding a job.
The university’s director Ignacio Sell Trujillo, told Euronews that “these young people come here to look for work and earn a living like other citizens in our country. So we thought that teaching them a job would enable them to enter the labor market as soon as possible.”
For those students not resident in Madrid, the university provides online training. According to Euronews, in 2021, ten students graduated from the program. This year’s cohort began their language courses in November 2021, according to a press release from the university.
The group consists of 16 young men and 24 young women. All of them were forced to interrupt their studies after the Taliban took over their country, states the university press release. The majority of Afghans who were airlifted to Spain following the Taliban takeover in August consist of young families. According to the university, more than 2,400 Afghans were airlifted to Spain in the last quarter of 2021.
In a statement, Ignacio Sell Trujillo said that the university hopes to prioritize the education of women, precisely because that helps with the overall integration of families, and also because it was often women’s education that suffered under Taliban restrictions. Often, it was their desire for a higher education which led these women into conflict with the Taliban, he explained.
As well as language lessons, the university will offer psychological support and help teach democratic and constitutional values as well as strategies for communication and expression, according to the press release.
Former alumni of the project have come from Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of those graduates went on to study for degrees in subjects as diverse as transport sciences and logistics, cinema, law, sport and nursing.
The university won a prize for its Integra program in 2018 and recognition from the European Parliament.


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