Belarusian Student Support Association
The entire world has become aware of the repressions the Belarusian regime has subjected the country’s citizens to. Students, scientists, and professors – the talented, capable part of the society – suffer from them the most because of their active political position.
The Belarusians worldwide have decided to join their efforts in helping Belarusian students who have been subjected to the psychological and physical violence and, in particular, who have undergone political persecution and have been expelled from their universities because of their beliefs.
That work has started quite some time ago, and it has been going on for a few months now. Those efforts have led to incorporation of most of the existing initiatives under a single roof and to creation of BeSSA – the Belarusian Students Support Association.
The association comprises the following initiatives:
- The Honest University (“Честный Университет”) – legal and financial aid to the persecuted students,
- Belarusian Association of Researchers and Educators Abroad (BAREA) – the society of Belarusian scientists and university professors in the USA,
- The Belarusian community “Together” (“Разам”) in Germany and the academic initiative at DGO, the German Society for the Eastern-European Studies,
- The Belarusian community “Supolka” (“Суполка”) in Italy,
- Several Belarusian informational projects and professorship communities in Poland, Lithuania, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, and other countries.
The Goals of the Association
BeSSA has been created for supporting and helping Belarusian students and professors. The staff of BeSSA focuses on the search and creation of educational and financial opportunities for persecuted Belarusians as well as the organizational and logistical support during the application process, relocation, and integration into a hosting society abroad.
Areas of Concentration
- The main focus is on searching for the educational programs worldwide which would be available for Belarusian students free of charge or on a subsidized basis of grants and stipends. BeSSA works with universities in several countries to find suitable solutions for the persecuted students to continue their studies.
- BeSSA also offers vocational help to professors, instructors of higher-learning institutions, scientists, and persons with advanced degrees.
- BeSSA looks for financial aid and material support of all kinds to the affected individuals. We understand that certain students and instructors will require funds for relocating, and they will need personal stipends. We plan on working with both the existing grant organizations and funds directly and on raising funds within the local Belarusian communities and organizations in the diaspora.
- BeSSA will mentor the students and other individuals under its auspices, prepare them for relocation, and help with paperwork and test preparation. We understand that the majority of Belarusian students are not sufficiently fluent in the language of the country of their destination, they are not familiar with the application procedures, with the process of academic credit transfer, and with the terms and procedures for converting their diplomas. We are aware of the fact that the bulk of Belarusian students does not have an experience either with TOEFL or with analogous language proficiency tests. BeSSA has formed a staff of volunteers who have graduated from various higher-learning institutions around the world, who can share their experiences in getting admitted and of study abroad.
The Universities Which BeSSA Is Currently Working With
- European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania)
- Kaunas University of Applied Sciences (Kaunas, Lithuania)
- Leipzig University (Leipzig, Germany)
- Humboldt University of Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
- University of Cagliari (Cagliari, Italy)
Programs and Funds*
- Kastus Kalinowski Scholarship Program (Poland)
- “A Country to Live In” Foundation (Belarus)
- Several online language and test-preparation programs
* — The list of the programs and universities BeSSA is working with is being continually updated.
The Required Help
- If you are a part of the Belarusian diaspora and are ready to start working with the universities, funds, and scholarships in your country of residence, please get in touch with us.
- If you are a representative of a charitable organization or a fund working with the people who have been persecuted in Belarus, please get in touch with us to discuss the ways of possible cooperation between your organization and BeSSA.
- If you are a Belarusian abroad who has contacts at the universities and higher-learning institutions and you can help us with the search and development of the new educational programs and opportunities, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whom Do We Work For?
- If you are a student who is being or has been subjected to repressions in Belarus, if you have been expelled from your institution of higher learning because of your political beliefs and/or because of your participation in peaceful protest actions, if the leadership at your institution has been applying pressure on you to quit your study because of the reasons mentioned just above – ask for help. Please fill the form on The Honest University’s website and we will get in touch with you within 24 hours.
- If you are a professor or an instructor at a Belarusian institution of higher learning who has been fired or who has been subjected to pressure because of your political beliefs and you think about emigrating, please fill out the same form linked to just above.