In August and September, Canadian students from across the country broke out the “Welcome” signs to warmly greet 75 newly arrived refugee students.
Through WUSC’s Student Refugee Program, these sponsored students will be attending over 50 Canadian universities and colleges. This was a special year as Local Committees from Sault College and the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology sponsored students for the first time. Burmese students from refugee camps in Thailand were also sponsored for the first time since 2008.
Whether it was a small welcoming group or dozens of students, there was excitement all around. At each arrival, students and faculty held up their signs and craned their necks to catch a first glimpse of the sponsored students walking through the gate.
Not all the arrivals went so smoothly. The Guelph LC was told that their sponsored students’ flight to Toronto was cancelled when in fact he did arrive. Luckily a former sponsored student who came from the same refugee camp as the newly arrived student was at the airport and offered him a place to stay in Toronto for the night. Just another example of how WUSC’ers give back when they can.
For some newly arrived students, it was also a chance to reunite with their siblings who came through the SRP a few years before. At Pearson airport, two brothers were so overjoyed seeing their third brother’s arrival, they proceeded to lift him up onto their shoulders! Another sponsored student, on a connecting flight to Edmonton managed to see his two sisters on a stopover in Toronto. The sisters had not seen their brother in 3-4 years, so even though it was a short reunion it was definitely a special one.
Now that the sponsored students have arrived in Canada, each of them are ready to begin their new life and the start to a promising future.
Providing refugee students with the skills to rebuild their lives
For over 30 years, the SRP has been helping students escape the camps and resettle in Canada. To date, over 1300 students have been sponsored.
You too can help change the life of a refugee student today. Donate now to the Student Refugee Program, or participate in this year’s Ride for Refuge.