who we are
SolidariTee is an international, student-led charity, striving for empowering, long-term change in the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.
Refugees who have arrived in Europe since the start of the 'refugee crisis' in 2014 have continued to be forced to live in dangerous, inhumane camps, without access to vital services.
In Greece today, where SolidariTee funds the majority of its work, those who arrive having fled persecution and violence are generally made to live in camps or are homeless. Asylum seekers in Greece have essentially no access to state-provided legal assistance when preparing for their crucial asylum interview, which will determine whether someone is granted refugee status, and therefore allowed to live safely and access rights such as work and education in their new host country. 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 rejections, many of which are unjustified, leaving people destitute, or at risk of violence or death should they be forcibly removed from the country.
We believe that the only way to escape this collapsing cycle is to come together as an international community to ensure that everyone who is forced to flee their home and migrate in vulnerable situations has access to fundamental rights. Our work contributes to empowering, long-term change for those forced to flee their homes by offering grants to NGOs that provide legal aid and related services including psychological support, protection, and translation and interpretation to refugees and asylum seekers.
SolidariTee is an international, student-led charity fighting for long-term change in the 'refugee crisis'.
1) To further the provision of empowering, long-term aid to refugees.
We do this primarily by offering grants to NGOs providing legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers. We believe legal aid to be one of the most sustainable and impactful forms of aid we can offer, preventing unjust deportations and enabling those who have fled violence and persecution to begin lives in peace and safety in their new host countries.
2) To unite the international community in support of human rights for all those affected by forcible displacement.
We seek to educate and raise awareness of the injustices perpetrated against refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable displaced populations worldwide, and of the possibilities for tackling these injustices. We do this through a range of events, as well as through our mythbuster and infographic series on social media.
3) To empower students to create meaningful change.
As the next generations of industry leaders, educators, parents and policy makers, we're equipping students with the tools and confidence to stand up for refugee rights throughout their future personal and professional lives. We seek to build our teams' confidence in having those tricky conversations with friends and family, and to provide opportunities to practice the teamwork, campaigning and advocacy skills needed by those wanting to stand up for what they believe in.
4) To model inclusive and intersectional activism.
From challenging voluntourism to environmental sustainability and volunteer mental health, we seek to demonstrate that change can be made in a way that is both respectful and impactful, without being exploitative.
Our team: an introduction to SolidariTee
SolidariTee concept video: March 2021
We created the video above in March 2020 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. The SolidariTee team is an international community of over 800 student volunteers from more than 60 universities across 6 countries, all of whom are committed to standing in solidarity with refugees worldwide.
We are an entirely student volunteer run organisation, from our student reps right through to our executive director and board of trustees. We welcome students from any institution who want to contribute to making meaningful change in the ‘refugee crisis’, and seek to build skills and confidence in the next generation of activists throughout their time volunteering with us.
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’.