Education for
young refugees
and displaced people
from around the world
Higher Education in Emergencies
The Vertical Border
My Day Will Come
Who are we?

Habesha Project is a politically neutral, secular, humanitarian nonprofit, born of Mexican civil society, that creates higher education opportunities for young refugees and displaced people from around the world.

Higher Education in Emergencies

In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international organizations, we tackle the challenge of providing higher education in emergencies. Read about the importance of this issue.

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Only 3% of young refugees in the world today have access to university education. Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we want that number to rise to 15% by 2030. With your donation, we can reach that goal.

Read Habesha Project’s student beneficiaries’ stories.


Omar Qayson

“I guess I am unlucky to have been affected by war, but I am lucky to be part of Habesha Project.”


Omar is from Talbiseh, Homs, in northwestern Syria. Before the conflict, his plan was to study journalism in Damascus, but he only just managed to finish high school when the bombs started falling.

He was selected by Habesha Project in 2015, but because he found himself in an area made entirely inaccesible by violence, he had to wait for more than three years before travelling to Mexico.

Omar arrived in Mexico in May 2018. After living in Aguascalientes for a year and passing Habesha Project’s Intensive Course in Spanish Language and Academic Re-Integration (CIAERA), he began his Bachelor’s in Architecture at the Ibero-American University (IBERO).


Silva Namo

“Imagine you have died and someone comes along and gives you a miracle cure. That’s what it felt like coming to Mexico; like being born again.”


Silva lived in Al-Hasakam, Syria, until August 2013, when, due to the armed conflict, she had to flee to Duhok Governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she lived for four years.

During her stay in Iraq, she worked as a community assitant in a French humanitarian agency, something which allowed her to learn a lot about the needs of refugees, as well as support her family economically. Her application to become a Habesha Project beneficiary was accepted in 2015 and, after an intensive fundraising campaign by the initiative, she arrived in Mexico in February 2017.

Silva is now studying odontology at the Universidad Latina de América (UNLA).


Enjin Ali

“The existence of this project is proof that Mexico wants to help countries affected by conflict and strengthen its relationships with populations in need..”


Enjin is from Aleppo Governorate, Syria. She was able to finish her high school studies before the worsening violence in Kobanî forced her to flee to Iraq.

At several points during her stay in Iraq, she worked in colloboration with UNICEF and UNHCR as a volunteer for organizations such as Un Ponte Per, Relief and Terre des Hommes in the refugee camps of Darashakran, Baharka and Debaga. She learned a lot about maternity issues, premature births and child labor.

She began her application to Habesha Project at the end of 2016, and arrived in Mexico in September 2017.

She is currently studying a Bachelor’s in Architecture at the Western Institute of Technology and Education (ITESO) in Guadalajara.


Rasha Salah

Rasha is from As-Suwayda Governorate, Syria. In 2005, she won a scholarship to study a Bachelor’s in Humanities and Educational Sciences in Havana, Cuba. After finishing her studies, she returned to Syria to finish her Bachelor’s in Journalism at the University of Damascus.

She worked as a teacher of Spanish at the the University of Damascus’s Higher Institute of Languages and volunteered for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. As part of her duties at the Red Crescent, she helped children displaced by war integrate into society by organising recreational activities.

Due to the worsening violence of the armed conflict, Rasha was forced to flee Syria in mid 2016 and travel to Lebanon. There, she worked for local humanitarian organization Sawa for Development and Aid, which works with Syrian refugees aged between 9 and 16 who want to go to school by organising workshops and therapeutic activities.

After applying to and being accepted by Habesha Project, Rasha arrived in Mexico towards the end of 2017. Today, she is studying towards a Master’s in Social Science at El Colegio de Sonora.

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A Statement From Habesha Project on the COVID-19 Crisis

In light of the unprecedented global health crisis we find ourselves in, Habesha Project has begun to think seriously about the effects that the pandemic and related lockdown will have on the organisation's physical health, operations and finances.

Because diversity, education and solidarity are both fundamental values of Habesha Project and the principles that should guide the world as it emerges from this health emergency, we feel it necessary to reaffirm our commitment to improving access to education for young refugees and displaced people around the world. Indeed, because of the humanitarian nature of our work, we wonder if there is even more we could be doing to help during these particularly difficult times.

The first thing to emerge from Habesha Project's process of evaluation is a set of a action points that constitute a solemn pledge that Habesha Project is making to members of the team, student beneficiaries, migrants and refugees in Mexico, and the generous donors that make our work possible.

Our pledge to the Habesha Project Team:

Habesha Project has taken measures to guarantee the health and wellbeing of all members of the team, and those measures comply with the highest Mexican and international standards. We have procured the resources necessary for team members to continue work from home, while also implementing the use of technology and increased coordination to ensure that the organization's productivity is unaffected.

Conscious of the needs of all team members, and despite the financial challenge that the current climate presents, Habesha Project will neither cut jobs nor reduce salaries or benefits.

Our pledge to student beneficiaries:

Practices have been put in place to prevent the spread of disease amongst student beneficiaries. Also, a means of maintaining constant, direct communicating with all beneficiaries has been established in order to monitor beneficiaries' mental health and help them access basic services and food.

All beneficiaries are working from home and following social distancing guidelines. Also, through the use of online resources and with the support of professional, committed volunteers, virtual tutorials are taking place.

A dedicated isolation room has been chosen and prepared in Habesha Project's student residences in case any beneficiary should contract COVID-19. Should this happen, the room will be used to avoid the sick beneficiary from infecting others.

Our pledge to migrants and refugees in Mexico:

Habesha Project recognises that refugees are among those who are most vulnerable to the effects of this crisis, especially if they are pregnant or suffer from any underlying health conditions. For that reason, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, we've taken on a project to source food to up to 30 refugee families present in Mexico who have suffered the sudden loss of their sources of income. We pledge to protect the food security of those families for the next three months.

We have begun conversations with other non-governmental organizations in Mexico who are working for the good of migrants and refugees with the objective of setting up a national coalition that promotes empathy for and solidarity with these organizations and the refugees they work for among Mexicans.

The Habesha Project team will voluntarily donate a percentage of their salary to a family of refugees or migrants facing extreme difficulty and precarity during the pandemic.

Our pledge to the generous donors who make our work possible:

Habesha Project is keenly aware that what allows us to carry out the humanitarian work we do for young refugees around the world is the generous support of our donors big and small. It is for that reason that, in spite of the total paralysis that the pandemic has caused, we will strive to achieve all of the objectives that donors signed up to support us with.

Since it was established in 2015, Habesha Project has made achievements that are both important and unprecedented in Mexico using extremely limited resources. Nonetheless, we are currently undergoing a process of identifying any area whatsoever in which we can make savings of any size. That way, our donors can be confident that the organizations is using their donations in a way that is efficient, transparent, and goes furthest in promoting higher education for refugees.

The above are the specific points of action that we have identified as important during our first round of evaluations. We will repeat the process at the end of every quarter until normality is restored.

We are inspired more than anything by seeing the positive effects of our work on beneficiaries, who are living testament to how with strength, resilience and hope one can overcome crisis.

From our own experience, we can say that now more than ever is a time for solidarity, hard work and hope.