Three-year partnership to support refugees in Germany announced by H&M Foundation and Kiron Open Higher Education

Despite being motivated to access higher education, less than 1% of all refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people get this opportunity. In a three-year partnership, backed by € 790,000, the non-profit H&M Foundation and Kiron Open Higher Education are on a mission to remove the barriers refugees face in accessing higher education.

The aim of the Building a Learning Environment for Study Success (BLESS) project is to enable access to higher education and successful learning for refugees through digital solutions, so that they can start studying regardless of their asylum status.  Kiron’s innovative, and free of charge, education model will be developed further support  students in the gradual transition to a university. During the three-year project period from October 2017 to October 2020, the H&M Foundation will donate around € 790,000 to Kiron. The aim is to reach 1000 new students and to strengthen the existing 2700 students.

“The time consuming process of seeking asylum is lost time for most refugees. They are unable to continue or begin their education, despite being motivated to learn. Nobody benefits from this situation. With this project, we aim to break the barriers preventing these vulnerable groups from accessing education”, says Carola Tembe, Program Manager at the H&M Foundation.

The main pillars of the BLESS project are the continuous further development of Kiron’s innovative learning environment for study success that fully caters to the needs of its students. Furthermore, the project will focus on university transfer guidance through a personal support system. In addition, sustainable scaling processes are to be developed in order to enable more refugees to study in the long term.

Kiron is an EduTech non-profit organization, that offers unbureaucratic and free access to higher education for refugees, through digital solutions. Students learn up to two years online on the Kiron Campus platform. Afterwards, they can apply to a university in order to receive a recognized Bachelor’s degree.

“We are enormously grateful for the support of the H&M Foundation. Thanks to the BLESS project, Kiron can leverage its unique and innovative learning model to turn an overwhelmingly difficult challenge into a real tangible pathway for refugees seeking higher education access. H&M Foundation’s support is essential to understand the needs of our students better and identify their problems faster in order to enhance their study experience,” said Scott Goldner, Kiron´s Chief Educational Program Officer.

About H&M Foundation:
H&M Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of H&M group. Its mission is to drive long lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. Through partnerships with organizations around the globe, the H&M Foundation drives change within four focus areas; Education, Water, Equality and Planet. In addition to this, the Foundation can also provide emergency relief. Since 2013, the Stefan Persson family has donated 1.3 billion Swedish krona ($177 million/€144 million) to the Foundation. Learn more at