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Film: Who You Were Yesterday 

Around[a] the world, only 6% of refugees have access to higher education, according to UNHCR.

When accessing higher education systems, refugee students are confronted with many challenges, including high tuition fees and living costs, legal restrictions, and strict language requirements.

Increasing access to higher education among refugees is key to building an inclusive and sustainable future. Higher education can help transform people’s lives by providing them with opportunities to develop new skills and secure employment, allowing them to contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.

Who You Were Yesterday follows the incredible journey of four young people as they uproot their lives and move from Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi to Canada to pursue their post-secondary education.

Anicet, Tamasha, Blaise, and Elisa were selected to participate in WUSC’s Student Refugee Program. The Student Refugee Program is a long-standing initiative that combines resettlement and education. As part of this initiative, young refugees have the chance to live and study in Canada.

A unique feature of the Student Refugee Program is the involvement of Local Committees at colleges, universities, and CEGEPS across Canada. Our large network of Local Committees made up of volunteers play an important role in supporting the resettlement of refugee students and provide them guidance and support to succeed and thrive in their new country.

Inspired by their involvement with the WUSC Local Committee at York University while they were a student, Heather Dirckze created this film to share the unique stories and experiences of refugee youth as they prepare to start their new lives in Canada as well as showcase the work of volunteers and sponsors who support this program.

In the first half of the film, the young students are preparing for what their new lives might look like and managing expectations for what is to come. On the other side of the world, their sponsors are preparing for their arrival with a mixture of excitement and nerves.

As the film progresses, the students arrive in their new home as permanent residents of Canada, and start to face the realities that this opportunity brings. The unique stories of Anicet, Tamasha, Blaise, and Elisa  portrayed in the film seek to inspire and move young Canadians to get involved with WUSC’s Student Refugee Program.

Learn more about the film and watch it here.

WUSC works to create a better world for all young people. To learn more, start here or subscribe to get highlights straight to your inbox. Interested in volunteering internationally? View our current opportunities. Looking for a new career opportunity? Check out our current job openings. Or show your support for our cause by making a donation.


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