Exec Committee

The UTRS executive committee (EC) comprise of a team of young refugees and asylum seekers, from different countries. The current team is a new team, having only stated their first term in office early 2012. The current EC is also diverse and interesting, not to mention passionate and ready to serve UTRS. Some are returning veterans to the field of refugee advocacy and education while others are equally skilled in other areas of refugee affairs and it is our pleasure to introduce them to you as below:



In addition to being the current chairperson, Alice is a founder member of UTRS, as well as former UTRS vice chairperson, and Lobbying and Advocacy Task Team (LATT) member of UTRS. Alice has represented UTRS at various events and levels both in South Africa and internationally, including at conferences, workshops, as well as on radio and television shows. Alice has also co-written many papers on refugee tertiary education, leading to many institutions opening their doors to refugees where previously they didn’t.

Alice has also been involved in day to day running of UTRS, including assisting students at tertiary institutions, lobbying and advocating with policy makers, running the UTRS office, as well counseling and advising students. Alice has also received many awards, including being awarded the prestigious bursary from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation for African scholars, as well as being chosen one of the 100 Brightest Young Minds in South Africa, and one of 300 Global Youth Partners of Oxfam International.   ALICE can be reached via e-mail at: Alice.Wamundiya@gmail.com



Fred Bidandi is former UTRS adviser and current Vice chairperson. A member of UTRS since its beginning, Fred has been instrumental in the success of UTRS, and is in fact responsible for making sure that bursaries are also given to refugee and asylum seeker students at certain tertiary institutions in South Africa. Fred has also written and presented several papers both locally and internationally on behalf of UTRS, many which has resulted in positive results for refugee and asylum seeker students in South Africa. Fred is committed to contributing to the progress of the UTRS and has been leading the fight for refugee students to get quick access to Home Affairs services, so that their studies do not suffer.

Fred has also been involved in the academic advising and tutoring of many refugee and asylum seekers, resulting in many of them passing well their subjects and graduating with honors in their degrees. Fred believes that promoting the academic welfare of refugees and asylum seekers is essential, as it will allow them in turn to contribute to their host communities and to their home countries upon return.  FRED can be reached via e-mail at: bidandif@gmail.com



Innocent Nahimana is also another founder member of UTRS and returning UTRS Secretary General. Innocent’s contribution to UTRS has been beyond measure, ranging from fundraising activities to community involvement, office duty, workshop facilitation, representing UTRS nationally, identifying new partnerships for the organization, assisting with registration of students at tertiary institutions, sourcing bursaries for refugee and asylum seeker students, and much, much more.

Innocent is very passionate about helping others. He says: “I have a passion for helping others, and I was touched by the fact that our host community’s educational institutions ignored the refugee and asylum seekers’ needs to access tertiary education, despite the challenges they had faced. I decided to get involved”. INNOCENT can be reached via e-mail at: gsutrs@gmail.com



Meron Yemane Semedar is from Eritrea residing in South Africa for the past six years as a refugee. Meron graduated in Baccalaureus Degree from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is currently a student towards Honors at the University of Pretoria and Cape Town. Meron is an Activist in the fight for democracy and human rights of his country Eritrea. Meron is also a member of the One Young World global youth movement as a representative of Refugees.

Meron is a former member of UTRS and has contributed in a number of refugee issues. Some of Meron’s works include registering students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and helping refugee obtain their refugee status at the Maitland Refugee centre. Meron also created a better platform in exposing the organisation at a number of Universities around South Africa. Meron is currently holding the position of Deputy Secretary General at UTRS. Meron believes education is the only way to fighting the increasing number of refugee problems and to bringing democracy and human rights to Africa. By providing education to asylum seeker and refugee status holders he believes they will become great leaders to their community and can create a better Africa upon their return to their home countries. Meron can be reached at Meriyemane@gmail.com


Justin comes from the D R Congo. He taught mathematics in the countries of the Great Lakes region as well as in South Africa. He holds a PhD in mathematics and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of the Western Cape.

Justin hopes that his passion for education will help him contribute significantly to the development of UTRS. Justin can be reached at




Said hails from Somalia and is current UTRS Public Relations Officer. Aside from being a student, Said is also a budding businessman. He has also been actively involved in refugee issues as a translator at the high court, and is passionate about making a difference in the refugee community, using the skills that he has gained.

In 2012 Said helped found SAVE SOMALIA an NGO that advocates for the Somali community in South Africa. Said can be reached at said659@hotmail.com