SolidariTee is the largest entirely student-run charity supporting the international assistance of refugees and asylum seekers.
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 until 2022 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 prosperous lives is by accessing legal support.
Our campaign gets refugees out of camps by offering grants to NGOs that provide legal aid on the ground.
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.
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.
Over our first two campaigns, the SolidariTee student committees amassed donations and sales of over £43,000.
We earned support from MPs such as Caroline Lucas, Jonathan Bartley, Tim Farron, and Jeremy Corbyn, among many others.
See left: University of Oxford Representative Zara Baker standing
in SolidariTee in Florence
Right now, in 2020, SolidariTee has more than 450 student volunteers from more than 40 universities across the UK, US and beyond, all of whom are committed to making sustainable change in the refugee crisis.
Through a variety of events across the globe, we’ve been 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 a programme of ‘Dance for SolidariTee’ club nights. We run a range of social media campaigns including our infographic (right) and mythbuster series, to equip the SolidariTee community and those who support us with the knowledge they need to make the change.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the incredible danger it poses to refugee populations, we have written an open letter to European leaders and launched a new fundraising campaign to provide an emergency grant for Kitrinos Healthcare, who amongst other initiatives are working to set up a ‘nightingale centre’ in Moria refugee camp.
This is in addition to the grants we have offered to NGOs working to provide legal aid to refugees in Greece.
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’.
See left: Trustees Madeline Hancock and Mouki Kambouroglou accepting the Diana Award on behalf of SolidariTee