Project Stand Up

Project Stand Up (PSU) is an initiative of students from refugee backgrounds in Malaysia who are seeking to solve gender equality problems, with a focus on breaking barriers to education for girls and young women. 

​The initiative has been developed by Teach 4 Refugeesand the Fugee School in partnership with HOST International, and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in partnership with MIKTA and the InnovationXchange.

Project Stand UP

Where it started

​A group of 10 students, two young women and eight young men, from Somalia, Libya and Yemen, have driven the project since learning about the experiences of their female classmates. A poignant sign of the gender inequality was that the girls were stopped from playing soccer simply for being female. From this lesson, the group was later asked: “Why are there only two girls in your class?”

​The question sparked an important learning opportunity. The students realised that there were fewer girls in their class because girls from their community had fewer opportunities to access learning: not because they had not worked as hard, were not as smart, or because they were lazy – as some people initially believed.

​In 2017, the Fugee School students entered a short film called Project Stand Up in the ‘Girls Impact the World’ Film Festival. The film won the ‘Stand Up Men’ Award. 

​This short film follows the class as students set out to raise awareness about gender inequality. After Project Stand Up won the award, Fugee School started its first girls’ soccer team.

Supporting girls to access education

​A consistent problem at the Fugee School is girls missing class or arriving too late due to home duties, childcare and other domestic work. If Project Stand Up could change the attitudes of students and communities towards girls playing soccer, could it also work to address the problems keeping girls away from school?

​In 2017 HOST International joined forces with Teach 4 Refugees to enter the global Education in Emergencies Challenge with Project Stand Up – further developed to include an app, education and training program to explore gender norms and address issues keeping girls away from school.  

​The challenge received 382 proposals covering 60 countries, and following assessment by an international expert panel, Project Stand Up was one of seven winners selected and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in partnership with MIKTA and the InnovationXchange.

​Project Stand Up has grown from a class on gender to an award-winning initiative that is developing solutions to help girls and women access education. 

​The project is now underway with ongoing financial, resource and expert support from HOST International. 

​Read our blog posts about how the project is developing and how students from refugee backgrounds are leading the way to solve the problems that affect them and their communities.