Seven bursaries were awarded to ISSofBC clients at the September 21st Annual General Meeting held at the ISSofBC Welcome Centre. Recipients selected are pursuing various training courses to prepare for further studies or employment in their relevant fields.
In brief remarks that were uniformly moving, bursary recipients spoke about their lives before coming to Canada, their struggles as newcomers, and their dreams for the future.
Nausheen Ismail, an experienced accountant from Kenya who received the De Jager Volkenant & Company Barristers & Solicitors Bursary, touched on the classic newcomer’s dilemma: “I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle: I could not afford to do courses on my basic (survivor job) salary, yet I could not apply for jobs that offered better salaries because of not having done the required courses.”
Sana Alayoubi, whose keen motivation and work ethic saw her completing 14 high school courses and over 260 volunteer hours in only 17 months, described her state of mind as a newly-arrived refugee from Syria in 2016: “I felt useless and left out of society….I doubted my ability to be successful.” Sana received the Jim Siemens Bursary.
Other bursaries awarded were:
- Marian Dewitt Bursary – to Ayan Mohamud Ismail
- Michael Danchuk Bursary – Almas Babrakzai
- Michael Danchuck Bursary – Abdulrahman Alzarrad
- Pietro Widmer & Renee Van Halm Bursary – Shiva Hossnieh Sani
- ISSofBC Bursary – Arezou Jalali Asl
This year’s AGM keynote speaker was VPD Chief Adam Palmer, who gave a detailed presentation on the many innovative community outreach initiatives being implemented by the VPD to keep Vancouver safe. VPD provides a full day of community policing each week to Welcome Centre residents and delivers a weekly “Introduction to Canadian Policing” workshop to the centre’s newcomer clients.