A refugee scholar living in Croydon has reflected on the success of a scheme he set up to help survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire access higher education.

Four years on from the tragedy, the 3E scholarship scheme has reached 39 people including five survivors of the fire without any public funding.

Its success is driven entirely by the voluntary efforts of its advocates, of whom Founder Adam Yasir is foremost.

Adam told the Croydon Guardian he felt compelled to act after Grenfell and began lobbying for scholarship places for those impacted by the fire.

"I was studying human rights and international relations at Roehampton University when the tragedy occurred.

"I saw a lot of people trying to do the right thing for their community and get justice and I felt obliged to do something about this.

"Many people were made homeless in the tragedy. There were people who were staying in hostels and hotels around the borough.

"I took part in the 'silent march' that was organised by the community after Grenfell, and spoke with people, and created my own focus group in a way with some of the survivors," he recalled.

Adam asked them whether they would be interested in scholarships at his university in the wake of the tragedy, and the answer he received was simply 'yes'.

To get approval from the school's leadership, university rules meant he needed to garner the support of at least one per cent of all Roehampton students.

He subsequently collected all the signatures needed from his fellow students and presented them to the Vice Chancellor, who now had an even more compelling reason to back the scheme, and the pair began drawing up plans for the scholarships.

"I wanted to make it long-term, with scholarships available until 2029 for example. The VC looked into the comments that were written into the scholarship petitions that I carried out. They know someone who died there personally, there friends with someone there.

"They were very personal remarks and the VC saw the human aspect of the scholarship that the university could offer: In one of the richest London boroughs in one of the richest countries on Earth.

"I partnered with the local partnerships including the Grenfell community to find the right people and put them in touch with the university. Even if they're not ready at that moment, they can take up the scholarship up to 2029 and will be supported throughout," he said.

Your Local Guardian: "I was really overwhelmed by the kindness and to see how students were engaging with it..." Image: George Eyo / instagram.com/georgeeyoofficial/"I was really overwhelmed by the kindness and to see how students were engaging with it..." Image: George Eyo / instagram.com/georgeeyoofficial/

The Croydon man pointed out that the key was to make an accessible route into higher education available for them whenever they were ready to take it up.

This longer-term approach meanwhile saw the scheme expand to other universities including Kingston University, whose students took up the challenge of recruiting their own Vice Chancellor with gusto.

"The Kingston students were very keen, they actually took the signature board from me... two weeks later I spoke with those who signed it in different halls," Adam said.

"I was really overwhelmed by the kindness and to see how students were engaging with it. A lot of the students I met were working class and from low income backgrounds. Kingston Uni said they were on board straight up, and that they will support them throughout. One of the scholars is now there, they started last year."

Five people who went to university with the scheme were survivors of Grenfell Tower, Adam said.

A week after Grenfell commemorations in London to mark the fourth anniversary on June 14, the Croydon scholar took time to reflect on the fire and its aftermath.

He described the lack of meaningful change after the fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people, as a "daily injustice":

"It is so alarming that four years on, there are no charges, no arrests being made, it is a daily injustice for the Grenfell community.

"I feel that the lessons have not been learned by central government even though 72 people lost their lives. They are still recklessly placing people from marginalised communities in similar blocks of flats that are unsuitable.

"On the other hand, this community spirit will continue to fight. I'm not a member of that community but I can relate to the human suffering in a different way.

"I live in Croydon and often see marginalised communities suffering and being neglected in one way or another. We cannot be silent about these things. I'm obliged to do what's necessary to help other human beings.

"Education is a human right. I shouldn't be speaking about this if we lived in a fairer society where our elected politicians were doing there job."

Click here for more information about the 3E scholarship scheme.