As thousands of refugees continue to pour into Canada, the country’s educational institutions are stepping up to offer bursaries and scholarships to help the newcomers resettle in the country.
“For many new arrivals, obtaining or upgrading their education is a critical first step toward finding financial independence and success in the Canadian workforce,” said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, hailing the country’s colleges and universities.
In addition to the anticipated refugee influx from war-torn Ukraine over the next few weeks, Canada has committed to bringing in at least 40,000 Afghan refugees following the Taliban takeover last August. Canada has so far resettled 8,580 Afghan refugees, as of a March 4 government press release.
One of them is Jawed, who arrived in Calgary with his wife and three children and is now among the first recipients of a 25 per cent tuition bursary from CDI College, according to a statement on its website which only identified him by first name.
This bursary will help cover costs of dozens of career diploma programs across 20 campuses in Canada.
“Available to all refugees across Canada, the program will run until the end of 2022,” the College said in its statement.
“I got admitted [to] the Web and Mobile Application Development program and I am looking forward to a career in [technology],” Jawed says in the statement.
“CDI will help with employment as well, so I’m encouraging all the refugees who have come over here to…start studying over here with the wonderful staff and instructors.”
Western University in London, Ontario said it is creating new scholarships for five Afghan students forced to flee their country’s turmoil.
Western will cover the cost of tuition, fees and living expenses for qualified students — an amount equivalent to $100,000 each over the course of four years.
“Afghan refugees have experienced trauma and upheaval unimaginable to most of us, and that includes an interruption to their studies,” Western registrar Glen Tigert said in a statement on the university’s website.
“As part of an international community, Western considers it both a privilege and a responsibility to help them rebuild their lives.”
Western is also committing to fund two Afghan scholars through the Scholars at Risk network and through the Scholar Rescue Fund – two international organizations that work to offer a safe environment, support and financial assistance for academics facing persecution or threats to their lives in their home countries.
Fanshawe College, also in London, has similarly announced a new scholarship program to provide financial support to Afghan refugees.
The scholarship will cover the full cost of tuition and ancillary fees for five students to complete one post-secondary program each, as well as $500 per term for textbooks and supplies. Students will also have the option of completing studies in English for Academic Purposes.
“A number of refugees from Afghanistan have arrived in London and are now looking to build a new life in Canada,” Janice Lamoureux, dean of students at Fanshawe College, said in a statement.
“We know that access to post-secondary education can open up opportunities, and we look forward to welcoming these students to Fanshawe.”
The College will partner with local agencies who are working with refugees to develop a process for referrals of individuals who may benefit from the scholarships.
In Sackville, New Brunswick, Mount Allison University plans to welcome a refugee student from Afghanistan in fall 2022, with additional funding support from World University Services of Canada, the University, and Mount Allison students.
The Afghan Women’s Organization and Immigrant Services, a Toronto non-profit organization, has also partnered with a local tech company to provide 55 computers, tablets, and cellphones to newcomer families looking to study or work online.
“I’m heartened to see Canadians across the country continue to support some of the world’s most vulnerable, and I’m proud that our country’s colleges and universities are helping break down financial barriers faced by many Afghan newcomers,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“Be it language training, skills upgrades, or post-secondary studies, these opportunities will open doors for our new arrivals while helping Canada address our labour shortage and grow the economy.”