Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the unfolding of the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades. In total, more than 11 million people have been displaced since tensions erupted into conflict in Syria over four years ago. The United Nations has estimated there may be as many as 4.27 million Syrian refugees by the end of this year.
Many of these refugees are currently living in Jordan and Lebanon, where WUSC has been working to provide Syrian youth with a chance to build a brighter future in Canada. Over the past couple of years, we have seen refugee camps in the region that are increasingly overflowing and overwhelmed. The need to support Syrian youth is urgent - and growing.
WUSC’s Student Refugee Program supports refugee youth to build a brighter future in Canada.
We created the Student Refugee Program (SRP) over 35 years ago to fill the critical gap in support to recently graduated secondary school students living in refugee camps. Since 1978, we have sponsored over 1,500 refugees to resettle in Canada and attend Canadian universities, colleges and cegeps. Globally, it is the only program of its kind that combines resettlement with higher education.
When youth are provided the opportunity to continue their studies, the impact extends far beyond that individual; they provide their families with hope. By having a better present and a more promising future, these students are empowered to support and even sponsor their families themselves. The program lifts young people out of insecure and often dangerous circumstances and gives them the power and potential to change lives in their own families and their home communities.
Many of our former SRP students have gone on to work for positive change with government institutions and the United Nations. Some have formed their own NGOs. Others have written books and produced documentaries about the current global refugee crisis. Alfred Orono Orono used the chance he was given as a former SRP student at the University of Alberta to become a lawyer for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
You Can Help Syrian Refugees.
The Student Refugee Program is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, individual universities, colleges and cegeps across Canada, and by the generosity of Canadians like you. This year, we have sponsored eight students from Syria as part of a much larger cohort of student refugees and we hope that number will continue to grow.
Please support WUSC’s Student Refugee Program to help us meet our goal of expanding support to young Syrian refugees and their families.
Here are some meaningful actions you can take today to make a difference:
- Donate to WUSC’s Student Refugee Program.
- Fundraise for the Student Refugee Program. Make a positive contribution by hosting a fundraiser, such as a car wash, yard sale, or dinner with family, friends and co-workers.
- Get involved with a Local Committee. If your local university, college or cégep already supports the Student Refugee Program, contact the Local Committee on campus to find out how you can get involved with their efforts. If not, talk to your post-secondary institution about partnering with WUSC and the Student Refugee Program.
- Participate in this year's Ride for Refuge event. This October 3rd 2105, join WUSC members, alumni and supporters across Canada and pledge to walk 5km, or to cycle 10, 25 or 50km in support of the Student Refugee Program.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated and help us raise awareness. Here is a toolkit to get informed, connected and active. You will find sample social media posts, useful links and other meaningful ways you can contribute.
For over 35 years, we have witnessed the outstanding accomplishments of former SRP students who often become inspiring leaders that advocate for lasting change in their communities. Your support will ensure these refugees are given the chance to succeed. Contact us for more information on how you can get involved with the Student Refugee Program today.