Two striving newcomers originally from Eritrea received ISSofBC’s Eleanor Strong and Jim Siemens Bursary Awards last night at the 43rd Annual General Meeting to help further their post secondary education.
Congratulations to Weldetensae Sina Yetbarek (Eleanor Strong Bursary) and her brother Weldetensae Sirak Yetbarek (Jim Siemens Bursary).
“I am very thankful for this bursary and the help it will provide as I continue to pursue my studies, said Sina in her acceptance speech.
Sina was recently accepted into an international development program at Capilano University, a program she believes will help her achieve her career goal of working with refugees as they transition to a new life in Canada.
The Jim Siemens and Eleanor Strong bursary awards are presented annually to refugee youth pursuing post-secondary studies. The 43rd AGM marked the first time two siblings received the awards.
Other highlights of the event included guest speakers Dr. Soma Ganesan, clinical professor at UBC Psychiatry who spoke on his journey from Vietnam 40 years ago as a refugee.
As the founder and director of the VGH Cross-Cultural Clinic and a founding member of the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture (VAST), Dr. Ganesan has been dedicated towards assisting refugees overcome physical and mental trauma.
In addition, Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada spoke at the AGM about the Syrian refugee crisis and Canada’s role in helping refugees.
He said ISSofBC can play a special role in the coming months and years as the world will see record high numbers of refugees requiring resettlement in 2016.
Guests and members were also treated to a time-lapse video during the AGM showing the remarkable progress made for the new Welcome House on 2610 Victoria Drive in East Vancouver. With an expected opening date of spring 2016, the new Welcome House will provide a one-stop shop of resources and services for immigrants and refugees in BC.