ISSofBC held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Welcome Centre Thursday awarding a record number of four newcomer bursaries to pursue post secondary education in BC.
This year ISSofBC offered four $1,000 bursaries to young immigrant and refugee clients with goals of completing their education at accredited institutions in Metro Vancouver. Two bursaries, the Marian Dewitt and Jim Siemens, honour long serving board and staff members while the Michael Danchuck and Pietro Widmer and Renee Van Halm bursaries are named after donors.
“I am very grateful to ISSofBC for awarding me the Marian Dewitt Bursary. This bursary helps me pursue my career goals, have peace of mind and not worry so much about my financial situation,” said Angelique Muhorakeye in her acceptance speech. Muhorakeye who came to Canada three years ago as a refugee from Rwanda with her mother, sister, niece and son, will use the Marian Dewitt Bursary to help with tuition costs to continue a criminology program at Douglas College.
Bernadette Baylon, a recent immigrant from the Philippines, was awarded the Pietro Widmer & Renee Van Halm Bursary to assist her with studies at Douglas College for a career as a post secondary support worker. The Michael Danchuck Bursary was awarded to Shiva Hossnieh Sani, who immigrated from Iran two years ago with her husband. Sani will use her bursary to complete an interpretation program at Vancouver Community College. Lastly, Mariam Bashardost, originally from India was awarded the Jim Siemens bursary to pursue an associate arts degree in teaching careers also at Douglas College.
In addition to the bursaries, the AGM included guest speaker Vince Sara, co-owner of the Medical Centre at ISSofBC Welcome Centre who spoke on the relationship between business and charity.
The AGM also included changes and additions to the board. Long-serving ISSofBC Board President Manchan Sonachansingh retired and a new president Jim Tallman was sworn in along with Catherine Der, Harry Gray and Joseph Chan as Board Directors.
Guests and members were also treated to organizational reports highlighting the opening of ISSofBC Welcome Centre, the resettlement of close to 2,000 Syrian refugees to BC, the official welcome of ISSofBC’s first Privately Sponsored Refugee family, and the recent royal visit to the new facility.