The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a non-profit organisation that offers services and programs to education, empowerment, and economic opportunities to youth, women and refugees around the world.
Their flagship program, the Student Refugee Program (SRP), helps to resettle out-of-country youth who wish to attend Canadian universities and colleges. Started by a group of students from Carlton University more than 40 years ago, this program has been successfully implemented in 92 post-secondary campuses across Canada. However, Memorial University is not one of them.
The program operates through a youth-to-youth sponsorship model which allows Canadian students to play an active role in the sponsorship of refugee students. Each refugee is sponsored by a campus-based local committee that raises necessary funds to provide the student with at least 12 months of financial support. The local committee also offers the student social and academic support as part of his/her/their resettlement. The cost of these scholarships include tuition, supplies, accommodations and self-care. 100% of funds go towards the SRP and the WUSC Scholar.
“Approximately 130 refugee students are supported by this program every year to pursue their right to education,” says WUSC co-chair Nabila Qureshi, “the SRP helps refugees pursue their chance for education in a relatively safe environment. These students feel motivated and validated through this program, and in turn they participate and give back to the community. Universities such as McGill, all three campuses of the University of Toronto, University of PEI, Yukon College, and the University of British Colombia have all adopted the Student Refugee Program.”
The Right to Education has been recognised by several international organisations, but it can be difficult for refugees to exercise this right. As co-chair Hussam Basemah states, “Often these refugees must leave their countries in fear for their lives, it’s not their fault that they’ve been forced into a refugee camp and flee their homes. That’s why the SRP is so important, to allow refugees to feel safe in a new environment while being able to pursue an education that would’ve been very difficult to obtain in refugee camps,”
“Our goal is to spread awareness of the refugee crisis, let people know what they go through and how education can have a profound impact on their lives. We want to make people aware of the difficulty some people face for the simple right to education.”
“As a developed country, we have to recognise our ability to make a profound impact with the refugee crisis and our ability to change lives,” Nabila states, “I’d like people to know that it’s more than just refugees we’re able to support. WUSC offers services and programs to refugee girls’ education, youth skill development, market facilitation, and women (ie. child and maternal health) We have many positions open for interested volunteers, and we’re privileged to be a student-run organisation. The WUSC board wants to give back to MUN for everything they’ve done for us.”
“My personal interest here is to help people, to stand for a good cause,” says WUSC-MUN member Sadia Chowdhury, ” The world is currently dominated by political decisions that create situations of suffering for many, many people. Refugees often bear the brunt of such decisions and are made to flee for their safety. We can plat an impact-full role in remedying such catastrophes and supporting the SRP is one way to do that. I find SRP as a positive step to be helpful to others, to open a chance for others to practice their rights to education and to fulfill their dreams.”
This is why the local chapter of WUSC is hoping to recruit undergraduate students to vote in an upcoming SRP referendum taking place alongside MUNSU’s by-election, which will be taking place November 5th and 6th. Undergraduates are able to vote through the MUN Self Service.
Further information can be found on their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pg/WUSCMUN/posts/?ref=page_internal