Hegg Hoffet

Hegg Hoffet Fund

The latest round of GWI Hegg Hoffet grants is now closed.  Please check back for future rounds for grants.

Hegg Hoffet Fund for Displaced Women Graduates

The Hegg Hoffet Fund assists graduate women (and in special cases tertiary women students) who have been displaced as a result of war, political upheaval or other serious emergencies. Some are fleeing gender-related atrocities in their home countries, such as rape, honour crimes, forced marriage and female mutilation. Others fear for their lives because of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. Arriving in a new country, most face complex challenges to integration, among them language difficulties, unemployment, rejection of foreign qualifications and the need for retraining.

GWI’s Hegg Hoffet Fund provides short-term grants for refresher courses for re-entry into the candidates’ professional field (or if that is not possible, training courses leading to some other employment), and for language training and other courses to assist with integration into their new countries. In addition to financial assistance, GWI’s national and local groups also provide the graduate refugees with moral support to help them to adjust to life in a different country.

In the case of serious natural disasters, GWI’s national federations and associations may apply for short-term grants on behalf of university women or women students within their countries who have suffered hardship due to the disaster and who wish to continue their work or studies.

If you fit with qualifications, please click on the links below to access the form and more information:



SL1-ImageAn African political refugee living in Latvia received a grant for intensive language classes, and has now found a part-time job. A single mother, she works in a restaurant that allows her to take home some food for her child, as the cost of living is very high.

An Asian women whose husband’s political activities incensed her national government, was forced to seek asylum in Britain. She was given a grant to pay for textbooks for her advanced English classes.

An African nurse who is a refugee in the U.S. received a grant to cover the fees for her TOEFL exam and the translation and evaluation of her qualification documents. She works as an aide in a care home, and hopes to qualify as a registered nurse so that she can help support other members of her family.

An African teacher who fled political upheaval in her country, is now living in South Africa. She received a tuition grant for Early Childhood Education courses which will qualify her to open her own home day care centre. She was also assisted in various ways by SAAWG members in her city.

A refugee doctor from the Middle East was awarded funds to help pay for her medical qualification examinations in the U.S. She is studying hard and determined to practise as a doctor again soon.

A French-speaking African lawyer fled civil wars and brutality in her country of origin. She is now a refugee in South Africa, and was awarded a grant for English language training.

A Colombian doctor in western Canada received a transportation and supplies grant to assist her while taking qualifying courses to work as a nurse. She was able to obtain a student loan for her tuition. She and her family were recently accepted for government housing in a better area, and our grant helped them move to a small townhouse there. She wrote that the “most valuable economic and moral support touches our spirits as human beings”.


An Ethiopian refugee now living in Australia was unable to find employment in her field of agricultural science without upgrading her computer skills. The AFUW Queensland branch was able to help her find an appropriate course and offer her moral support, and the Hegg Hoffet Fund covered her tuition fees for business computer courses.


An Afghani doctor in Canada was not allowed to practise medicine there. Through the Hegg Hoffet Fund, she received a tuition grant for courses in ultrasound technology, and she also took courses in nursing. Now she works part-time and studies, while caring for her three children. Her husband, also a doctor, is studying to pass Canadian medical examinations, so she has to help support the family.

Five refugees from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, all now living in Switzerland, were funded for a German language course. Their professions include dentistry, chemistry, management, and accounting. They are all taking part in a programme which will teach them how to set up their own businesses in Switzerland.

A Sudanese woman with a Bachelor of Science degree fled to Egypt from the fighting and famine in Darfur. She was earning a very low wage teaching primary students in the refugee camp, and applied to the Hegg Hoffet Fund for a tuition grant to take some computer courses and upgrade her skills. She hopes to get a better job and help support her younger siblings who are still in southern Sudan.

This Asian doctor (in photo) was forced to flee to Europe with her ailing husband and two children after her parents were murdered and other family members threatened. At first she suffered overwhelming depression, but with our encouragement she began to look for opportunities to improve their situation. She managed to obtain a university scholarship to retrain in another health field, and the Fund gave her a grant for advanced language courses so that she would have a better chance of getting a job after graduation. Her husband is unable to work, so she will need to support the family. She was delighted with the moral support received, and sends the Hegg Hoffet Committee regular updates on her progress.



The Hegg Hoffet Fund grants rely on the ongoing generous contributions of GWI members and other supporters. Donations are needed throughout the year to help graduate women refugees make successful transitions in their new countries.




History of Hegg Hoffet

The Fund was established in 1936 as the IFUW Emergency Fund (later called the Relief Fund) to help university women who had been deprived of the right to work, and in many cases, the right to live in their native countries.

In honour of many years of service given by long term convener Mme Blanche Hegg Hoffet of Switzerland, who was particularly responsible for raising money and distributing assistance during and after the Second World War, the Fund adopted her name in 1968.



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