It’s back-to-school time—what does that mean if you’re a refugee?

Meet the students of UNICORE—and hear about their hopes and dreams. UNICORE, which stands for UNiversity COrridors for REfugees, is a program promoted by Italian universities, with the support of UNHCR, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Caritas Italiana, Diaconia Valdese, Centro Astalli, and other partners. 

It aims to increase opportunities for refugees currently residing in refugee camps to continue their higher education in Italy.

Fathi Mohamed, 21

Fathi lives at Campus Martinitt, a student residence near the center of Milan, in Lambrate.

“I have studied from primary to high school in the refugee camp in the Somali region in Ethiopia and I’ve attended my bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory and technology science there,” he said. “When I graduated, I got this scholarship called UNICORE.”

He’s now studying in a master’s program in biotechnology and molecular medicine at the University Statale of Milan.

Saber Hamed, 24

“I’m from Kordofan, Nuba tribe,” said Hamed. “I left Sudan because of the civil war and then I studied in Ethiopia for my bachelor in sociology.”

Saber is now studying international cooperation and human rights at the University Statale of Milan. “So I continue my path because I believe that collaboration could help us to approach the problems of our planet and also to take care of our future generations,” said Saber.

Bisrat Sium Gebreamlak

Bisrat is from Eritrea, and moved to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. She now studies biotechnology for the bio-economy at the University Statale of Milan. “I did my bachelor’s degree in applied biology in Eritrea,” said Bisrat, “One day a friend of mine told me about this program and I applied. Imagine the happiness when I received the results. It was a dream come true!”

Journalist Giulia Tringali tells the compelling stories of these students in her report, “The Voices of the Protagonists.” To read more, click here.

“The Voices of the Protagonist” is part of Changing the Narrative, a project produced by the World Association for Christian Communication regional associations in Africa, Europe, and Middle East with financial support by the Otto per Mile foundation of the Waldensian Church in Italy. For more information—and more stories—visit