Giving student refugees a second chance

By Marie-Josée Kelly

The Concordia Chapter of World University Service Canada is working on sponsoring a student currently residing in a refugee camp to study at the university on a year-long scholarship. The organization is waiting on the Concordia Student Union’s approval on its proposal.

Since 1978, through WUSC’s Student Refugee Program, over 1200 students have been given the opportunity to pursue higher education across Canada. For the first time at Concordia students are aiming to join the cause.

James Arruda, a longtime volunteer with WUSC, explains that due to the volatility of some conflict zones, the organization partners with refugee camps located in more stable areas such as Kenya, Thailand and Malawi.

“There are some places where it is harder to secure partners—it’s important to ensure that resources are properly managed,” he says.

Over 2 million Syrian refugees have been displaced by the ongoing civil war. Most of them having relocated in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Nearly half of the refugee population are girls and women, while another quarter of them are boys under the age of 18.

Arruda explains that due to political reasons, WUSC cannot sponsor a student refugee that has fled Syria at the moment. He predicts many of these camps will be around for at least another decade, and that sponsoring a Syrian student living in of these camps is something they will be looking into accomplishing in the future.

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