SolidariTee is an international, student-led charity fighting for long-term change in the 'refugee crisis'.
The makeshift refugee camps scattered around Europe are severely over-crowded and dangerous. Refugees arriving in Greece today will have to live in these inhumane conditions for months or years, waiting for an interview which examines their right to claim asylum. Legal aid is so under-funded that thousands of refugees enter this highly complex legal process without any guidance. This results in a high rate of deportations, many of which are unjustified.
The only way that refugees can escape this collapsing cycle and begin rebuilding their lives in peace and safety is by accessing legal support. Our work gets refugees out of camps and enables those who have fled violence and persecution to begin fulfilling, productive lives in their new host countries by offering grants to NGOs that provide legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers.
We are headed and staffed entirely by student activists, originating in a grassroots university context. We continue to be fuelled by the unbelievable energy, dynamism and ambition of young people within our organisation and beyond.
An introduction to SolidariTee: March 2021 concept video
We created this video to showcase who we are, what we do, and the diversity of reasons why our student volunteers have chosen to stand in SolidariTee with refugees this academic year.
To read more about the NGOs we support, click here.
Right now, in 2021, SolidariTee has over 800 student volunteers from more than 60 universities across 10 countries, all of whom are committed to making lasting change in the 'refugee crisis'.
Through a variety of events across the globe, we’re working to raise awareness of our cause by bringing people together. These have ranged from panel discussions and poetry events to comedy shows, theatre collaborations and even ‘Dance for SolidariTee’ club nights. We run a range of social media campaigns including our infographics and Mythbuster series, to equip the SolidariTee community and those who support us with the knowledge they need to make the change.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to completely revolutionise the way we raise awareness for the refugee crisis, but despite lockdown, our reps are still organising educational, community building, virtual events on a weekly basis. From quizzes and panel discussions to virtual exhibitions and scavenger hunts, our regional reps have been coming up with new ways to keep up the excitement.
In response to the incredible danger the pandemic poses to refugee populations, in March 2020 we wrote an open letter to European leaders and launched a new fundraising campaign to provide an emergency grant to Kitrinos Healthcare, a medical NGO working to provide healthcare to asylum seekers and refugees in Greece. SolidariTee's £10,000 contribution helped to support their COVID-19 response plan, which involved the creation of a ‘nightingale centre’ in the former Moria refugee camp. This is in addition to the grants we have offered to NGOs working to provide legal aid to refugees in Greece.
SolidariTee was founded in January 2017 by Tiara Sahar Ataii, a then-first year student at the University of Cambridge. After volunteering as a translator and interpreter with a legal aid NGO in Greece, Tiara wanted to raise funds for the refugee crisis, and increase awareness of the cause amongst her student peers. She decided to use her student loan to buy and print 600 t-shirts - or ‘SolidariTees’. Tiara spent her first year of university delivering her t-shirts around Cambridge by bike. The campaign skyrocketed, spread to other universities, and became known as SolidariTee.
Watch Tiara's TEDx Talk: 'A Sustainable Solution to the Refugee Crisis', for a summary of the reasons we believe that legal aid is the most empowering, long-term form of aid we can offer.
In 2019, SolidariTee received a Diana Award, which is presented to exceptional young change-makers who have demonstrated a capacity to mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting global change.
Tiara was also awarded the 2019 Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award. Her campaigning with SolidariTee was described as ‘humbling and incredibly inspiring’.