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Overcoming persecution to graduate

A University of St Andrews student who was persecuted for her religion and overcame the challenges of seeking asylum in the UK graduated today (Friday 28 June) with the degree she fought to attain.

Tashi Tahir (22) proudly formed part of graduation procession to the University’s historic St Salvator’s Quadrangle this morning with her colleagues and friends after being awarded an MA degree in Management.

Persecuted for her religion, Tashi fled from Pakistan to Scotland with her mother in 2004 but was not granted discretionary ‘leave to remain’ in the UK for another ten years.

During that decade, with her mother suffering mental health problems, she was taken into foster care, detained at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre and was in the asylum process for a decade.

The straight-A student feared she would not be able to accept her place at university without leave to remain status, which is granted on compelling or compassionate grounds, but it was approved by the Secretary of State just in time for her to start her studies.

Tashi said: “I am super excited. I am the first person in my family to graduate and I couldn’t have done it without their support and their sacrifices to put me through school.”

Tashi, who was President of Refugee Action St Andrews during her time at University, is now determined to use her education to fight for human rights.

Tashi in St Salvator’s Quadrangle on graduation day

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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