Latest News | 13 March 2024

Refugee supported by trust in running for law scholarship

Derventio Housing Trust
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A refugee who is being accommodated by Derventio Housing Trust is in the running for a prestigious scholarship with one of the world’s top law firms.

Efrem Oumer Nasser, a 33-year-old refugee who sought asylum in the UK from his native Eritrea, is one of 100 UK hopefuls from 72 UK universities to be in with a chance of winning a highly coveted scholarship set up in memory of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Efrem’s flight from the military regime in Eritrea has taken him over the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea to Germany, and then across the English Channel in a boat.

He has been accommodated by Derventio Housing Trust in Derby since October.

Passionate about a career in the law since he was young, he signed up to study with the Open University and was selected as its preferred candidate for the Stephen Lawrence scholarship at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – ranked in the world’s top 20 law firms.

Efrem has already won through two stages of the process and will be heading to London this month for a two-day on-the-job assessment at Freshfields in order to be in with a chance of reaching the next stage of the process.

Derventio Housing Trust is paying for a new suit for Efrem using its Sylvester’s Fund for one-off charitable purchases, so he can look business smart for the assessment.

Efrem, who has started a paid position at Upbeat Communities, said: “I’ve really wanted to be a lawyer from the beginning. I used to see these politicians and businessmen and saw how they manipulated the law – because they knew it and you didn’t.

“I’ve always wanted to know about the law so that I can help the less fortunate benefit and the outlaws to be held responsible.

“I know I’m good at it. I understand complex logical reasoning. I’ve always been very ambitious. That was my interest but where I am from there are not the opportunities there are in England, and I want to thank the English Government and the people for giving me the chance to live my dream.”

Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy for Derventio Housing Trust, said: “It’s brilliant to see Efrem nominated for this amazing opportunity at Freshfields.

“Our Sylvester’s Fund exists to help residents with one-off purchases they need either to move on from one of our properties or to help them with their life in some way.

“It has funded all sorts of things from mobile phones to careers courses to childcare, helping people get back into the workplace or move on with their lives.

“We’re delighted to fund Efrem’s suit so he can look smart in London.

“Many people take something like buying a suit for granted but it’s a significant cost, and many cannot afford it.”

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