Linda Norgrove Foundation Urged the UK Government to Re-Open ACRS for Afghan Women

A charity urges the UK Government to re-open the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and let Afghan women move to Scottish universities. This effort will help Lewis-based Linda Norgrove Foundation to support 20 Afghan women to continue their medical studies in Scotland. Five medical schools in UK universities have agreed to admit 20 students. However, these students have no way to the UK but through ACRS, which opened in January 2022.

Highland Member of Parliament (MP) Jamie Stone supported the charity and said the Home Office has been “asleep at the wheel” on the issue. According to Jamie, the Government is “getting in the way” of charities attempting to help Afghans.

John and Lorna Norgrove founded the Linda Norgrove Foundation and established this charity in memory of their daughter Linda, an aid worker in Afghanistan. In 2010, Linda was kidnapped and killed by a grenade during a rescue operation by US forces.

Dozens of Threatened Afghan Women

Linda Norgrove Foundation provides scholarships for women trying to be doctors, midwives, and dentists. Additionally, it sponsors young women studying law, economics, business, and emergency aid.

According to the press, many female Afghans are at risk because of having no male supporters at home or due to their Hazara ethnicity.

Afghan Women, ‘Huge Asset’ to Scotland

John Norgrove said: “These women are really desperate and it is truly heart-breaking to hear their stories.”  They are bright young women and part qualified as doctors and would be a huge asset to this country if we brought them over here. “It seems like a real win-win for us and for the young women.”

Jamie Stone has written for clarification to the Home Office pressing. He said, “The Home Office has been asleep at the wheel since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.” According to Jamie, they are watching the Taliban have stripped away women’s rights from them in real-time, and the Government is doing nothing enough to help. He added that it had been over a year since organizations like the Linda Norgrove Foundation could not submit applications to bring female students to the UK to finish their studies.

According to the Foundation, they will evaluate and screen the applicants to ensure they have good English proficiency, a current passport, and an excellent academic track record. It provides a small living allowance to the recipients of the scholarship following the closure of the universities to women.

Airfare Payment to the UK

According to the press, the Foundation will pay 20 women to travel to Pakistan and then fly to the UK if the Government grants them visas.

Due to the high costs compared with Afghanistan, the charity has insufficient resources to fund the students fully after arriving in the UK. However, they plan to support them in applying for student loans and identify scholarships to fund their studies and accommodation.

In 2021, the charity helped two aid workers resettle in Stornoway and flee Afghanistan. Since the Taliban takeover, it has also provided emergency aid to people facing freezing winters without food or heating.

According to the UK Home Office spokeswoman: “Supporting the resettlement of eligible Afghans remains a top priority. She added that they had welcomed more than 7,600 arrivals under ACRS and will continue to work with the UNHCR to identify at-risk people, including girls and women, to resettle in the UK.

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