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RRC launches new support program for student refugees

February 9, 2015

refugee-educationRed River College will soon begin providing hope and educational opportunities to student refugees in Winnipeg, thanks to a new humanitarian aid initiative launched in partnership with World University Services of Canada (WUSC).

The College’s newly announced Student Refugee Program will allow the RRC community to support one passionate and dedicated student per year, as they arrive in Canada as permanent residents to pursue post-secondary education.

Each year in Canada, similar Student Refugee Programs allow more than 55 student refugees to enter the country and begin their studies.

The program’s success is ensured by WUSC, whose members facilitate the overseas selection of the student refugees, place them at Canadian universities and colleges, and provide training and guidance to local WUSC committees. Each refugee is sponsored by a campus-based Local committee, whose members raise any necessary funds ahead of time, and provide students with at least 12 months of financial, social and academic support.

“In addition to the compelling nature of the program on humanitarian grounds alone, the Student Refugee Program is an extremely valuable way of promoting peace and social justice, facilitating learning and understanding, and establishing on-campus opportunities for all staff and students to become involved through volunteerism,” says Lauren Konrad, Student Integration Coordinator with RRC’s Diversity and Intercultural Services office.

The College’s first student refugee will arrive in Canada in August 2015. The student will be enrolled in RRC’s Applied Accounting program, and will live on-campus at the College’s student residence downtown.

Currently, WUSC recognizes RRC as a leader among Canadian colleges, on account of the model used to implement the program on campus, and develop long-term sustainability.

The College’s SRP Local Committee includes representation from various students, staff and faculty from a number of student services and program area. The Committee receives advisory support from Benigne Aaron (a former SRP student at Université de Saint-Boniface) and Albert El Tassi, who immigrated to Winnipeg from Lebanon in 1969, began working in the shipping department at Peerless Garments, and later rose through the ranks to become president and CEO of the company. Mr. El Tassi is a generous donor and supporter of the program.

Click here for more information on WUSC’s Student Refugee Program.

Are you in interested in supporting this new initiative? Click here if you’d like to donate to the RRC Student Refugee Program Award.

If you’re interested in joining the College’s Student Refugee Program Local Committee, contact Lauren Konrad at 204.631.3345.