Celebrating 35 Years of the Student Refugee Program

September is always an exciting time for those involved In WUSC’S Student Refugee Program (SRP); for the sponsored students coming from refugee camps half-way around the world to resettle and study in Canada, and for the student volunteers who secure financial assistance and provide academic and social support to the student refugees during their first year.

This fall marks a special milestone for the SRP – its 35th anniversary! Since 1978, this remarkable program that began with a single sponsorship at Carleton University has grown into a Canada-wide initiative that, each year, enables nearly 80 young refugees from war-torn countries around the world to pursue their educational dreams in Canada and find a secure country to call home.

Most of this year’s 73 sponsored students have arrived in Canada in recent weeks, coming from   the asylum countries of Kenya, Malawi, Thailand and Syria to enthusiastic welcomes by WUSC Local Committees at 51 university and campuses across the country.   

Some of these students have spent their lives until now in refugee camps, their families having left the dangerous upheaval of their countries of origin: Burundi, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan. The SRP has provided these vulnerable youth with an opportunity otherwise would not exist.  

On the 35th anniversary of the SRP, WUSC is pleased and proud to announce some remarkable facts about this unique, successful, made-in-Canada, peer-to-peer sponsored program that has changed lives and increased many people’s understanding of global issues.

35 Years of the Student Refugee Program (SRP)

  • Since 1978, the SRP has been supporting bright and hard-working young refugees resettle in Canada to pursue post-secondary education in a Canadian university or college
  • 1300 student refugees have been sponsored from 35 countries of origin on five continents
  • 100 Universities and colleges have welcomed sponsored students on their campus as part of the SRP
  • 2.9 million dollars are raised by Canadian students every year to support the SRP in their respective campuses
  • 500+ Canadian students volunteer each year on their campus Local Committees to keep the SRP going and engage in global humanitarian issues
  • More than 1 million Canadians are more aware of refugee and immigrant issues resulting from the actions of engaged students

The vast majority - 92% - of SRP students over the years have graduated and 85% have found work in their fields such as engineering, nursing, law, administration. They are now active Canadian citizens making valuable contributions to their Canadian communities. Some have also returned to their countries of origin to help with nation-building, global education and cooperation. 

Please keep in touch to participate in SRP 35th Anniversary events in the year ahead:

The 35th Anniversary of WUSC’s SRP is something worth celebrating.

The active and generous support of donors and supporters from across Canada, on campus and off, has made this impact possible. Donate now to support the SRP. 

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