In 2015, thirteen African asylum-seeking students met to discuss their key needs: tuition scholarships, student visas, and internships following graduation. They also discussed ways of outreach to the community to increase the number of students in higher education. In March 2017, the group organized and founded the African Students Organization in Israel and registered it as an NGO in Israel.
In 2009, when African asylum seeker Adam Bashar from Sudan-Darfur was studying at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya he met Joey Low, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. Joey had established the NGO “Israel at Heart” to support Israeli students at IDC.
Adam told Joey of his journey to Israel, and Joey immediately connected with the asylum-seeking experience. Joey’s own mother was a refugee in Europe seeking asylum in many countries till she immigrated to the USA where Joey was born.
Adam introduced Joey to the Sudan-Darfur community in South Tel Aviv where he pledged to provide scholarships for asylum seekers qualified to study. Initially, Joey pioneered the “African Refugee Scholarship Program” to help students from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan-Darfur enter IDC and complete programs there. Today, the program helps all African asylum seekers wherever they are studying in Israel. Joey also supports the African asylum seeking community by advocating for and championing them in the media and at public forums.
Joey is our education and empowerment backer, mentor, advocate, and booster; in short, Joey is our “angel!”