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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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4 thoughts on "Overcoming persecution to graduate"

  1. Ed says:

    I was persecuted for my Christian faith, but that was the reason behind my achievements, including a PhD from St. Andrews and writing two books in my field!

  2. Bella says:

    Lovely story but I do not understand why the article refuses to say which religion she was persecuted for. What is so terrifying about mentioning that she is Christian? A fear of offending the people who wanted to kill her?

  3. Linda says:

    Warn congratulations Tashi Tahir. I am sure your Mother is so proud of you. I do hope she is well and safe now, too, and that both of you are able to stay here, if you would like to. My apologies for the difficult experiences you had as a young asylum seeker in Britain. Many of us do not agree with these policies in the UK and in many European countries. You might like to look at this website: This is a grassroots organisation which aims to uphold the vision of those that set up the United Nations in 1945. and to make ordinary citizens aware of how the United Nations works, and how it might be even more effective in the future.

  4. So far, refugee problems have created a lot of problems for refugees because of religious and religious differences, but I am happy for Tashi who has been able to overcome her problems with her fighting spirit.

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