Wintershall Dea Foundation supports international students who fled the war in Ukraine

Wintershall Dea Donation handover Student Union
Wintershall Dea Donation handover Student Union
Harry Soremski/Wintershall Dea Foundation for Democracy and Diversity

Our picture shows (front from left to right) Afor Daniel Chiedozie, Concetta Mugavero (Studierendenwerk), Michael Sasse (Wintershall Dea Foundation), Maurice Monele (AStA), Valentine Chibuege Ugorsi, Maurice Ugunna and Julia Thonfeld (Studierendenwerk) and (back from left to right) Ogunsusi Ayodeji Franklin, Akonye Joseph Chidubem, Salma Ghnimi, Neele Hannah Weller (AStA) and Nwabude Chidubem Emmanuel.

  • Help for around 20 students from third countries who have fled Ukraine 
  • General Student Council (AStA) of the University of Kassel and Studierendenwerk Kassel (student support) receive donation to enable proof of funding

They studied in Ukraine and fled to Germany to escape the Russian war of aggression – now hundreds of international students from third countries are left with nothing. The Wintershall Dea Foundation for Democracy and Diversity wants to help affected students who have fled to Kassel to continue their studies in Northern Hesse. Thus the foundation supports the General Student Committee (AStA) at the University of Kassel and the Studierendenwerk Kassel (student support) with a donation of 30,000 euros.

Many international students from third countries have lost both their livelihood and the opportunity to complete their studies due to the war in Ukraine and the subsequent flight, explains Neele Weller for the AStA: "Returning to their home countries is not an option for many, as they are then unable to continue their studies, or only under more difficult conditions. In Germany, however, they face the challenge that the same rules and assurances do not apply to them as to students with Ukrainian passports." Ukrainian citizens can currently obtain a residence permit at short notice and with reduced bureaucracy via an exemption regulation (granted by §24  Aufenthaltsgesetz/Residence Act). With this permit they are allowed to work and study in Germany. Unfortunately, this regulation does not apply to students from third countries who have fled Ukraine.

Since March, the AStA and the Studierendenwerk have been supporting about 20 young women and men at the University of Kassel who fled from Ukraine to North Hesse because of the war and who want to continue their studies there. Among them are future engineers, doctors, economists and computer scientists. They come from Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt, among other places, and have previously studied in Kharkiv, Lviv and Kiev. "Some of them had completed most of their studies in Ukraine and were about to graduate," reports the AStA.

For the time being, the refugee students were accommodated privately with students from Kassel. In order to offer the young people a perspective in this difficult situation, the University of Kassel decided to enroll these students from third countries for one year with the status of exchange students. During this time, they must now acquire basic German language skills so that they can continue their studies in Kassel afterwards. They will finance their living through part-time jobs.

In order for the refugee students to be allowed to stay in Germany at all and receive a study permit, each of them must also prove that they have financial reserves of more than 10,000 euros. "In view of the war and the flight, it is not surprising that the majority of these students no longer have financial reserves of this amount. These have been used up during the flight, accounts have been frozen, advance payments for accommodation and food have lapsed," explains Neele Weller (AStA).

The AStA and the Studierendenwerk want to support international students in providing the urgently needed proof of funding. A six-figure sum is needed for this. For this reason, the AStA has launched an appeal for donations in Kassel with the support of the Studierendenwerk. The social counselling service of the Studierendenwerk will clarify the financing requirements in talks with the students concerned. After detailed consultation the social councelling service will also initiate the disbursement of the respective sums required. If more funds than required are collected, the money will be used to further support refugee students at the University of Kassel.

"We would like to support this commitment of the AStA and the Studierendenwerk Kassel and are providing 30,000 euros for this purpose. We hope that others will follow our example," says Michael Sasse from the board of the Wintershall Dea Foundation for Democracy and Diversity. After all, the students are victims of the Russian war of aggression, just like the Ukrainians who have fled.

The donation was handed over to the AStA and the Studierendenwerk on campus in Kassel on the occasion of a visit by scholarship holders from the Studierendenwerk Hamburg to North Hesse. In the Hanseatic city, Wintershall Dea and other companies have been supporting refugees in their studies through a scholarship programme that is unique in Germany. At the invitation of Wintershall Dea, the scholarship holders visited Kassel for two days, exchanged ideas with young professionals and company representatives, and toured the world art exhibition documenta fifteen and Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About Wintershall Dea

Wintershall Dea is Europe’s leading independent natural gas and oil company with more than 120 years of experience as an operator and project partner along the entire E&P value chain. The company with German roots and headquarters in Kassel and Hamburg explores for and produces gas and oil in 13 countries worldwide in an efficient and responsible manner. With activities in Europe, Russia, Latin America and the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and, with its participation in natural gas transport, is also active in the midstream business. More in our Annual Report.

As a European gas and oil company, we support the EU's 2050 carbon neutrality target. As our contribution we have set ourselves ambitious targets: We want to be net zero across our entire upstream operations – both operated and non-operated – by 2030. This includes Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions on an equity share basis. Wintershall Dea will also bring its methane emissions intensity below 0.1 per cent by 2025 and maintain zero routine flaring of associated gas in its operations. In addition, we plan to reduce emissions resulting from the use of hydrocarbons by applying CCS and low-carbon hydrogen technologies, potentially building up a business abating 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2040. You can find more about this in our Sustainability Report.

Wintershall Dea was formed from the merger of Wintershall Holding GmbH and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, in 2019. Today, the company employs around 2,500 people worldwide from almost 60 nations.

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