World Refugee Day! 8 Young Refugees Now Living in Regina Awarded Education Bursaries!

Posted in Community Programs / Immigration News

World Refugee Day!  8 Young Refugees Now Living in Regina Awarded Education Bursaries!

21 Jun 2016  by Natascia Lypny   Leader-Post  

Bishnu Kafley lived for a dozen years in a refugee camp in Nepal. Now she has her sights set on becoming a doctor.  

Emmerence Bagenda bounced from school to school as her family hopped from country to country after leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo. Soon she’ll be studying computer engineering at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “I feel at home,” she said.  

It’s stories like these that Darcy Dietrich wanted to celebrate Monday, to reinforce that “refugees are people like you and me,” said the Regina Open Door Society’s executive director. “They’ve been forced to flee, but they have the same hopes and the same dreams that we do.”

June 20 marked World Refugee Day, and Regina’s celebrations took over City Square Plaza during the lunch hour with drumming, dancing and songs. Hosted by the Open Door Society, the event also saw eight young adults receive $2,000 bursaries for post-secondary education.

“This is my chance to live my dream. I can see it coming,” said Kafley, who arrived in Canada in 2010.
Originally from Bhutan, her parents fled to Nepal because in their home country they were disallowed from practising their culture and religion, and feared losing loved ones. She was recently accepted to the University of Regina’s pre-medicine program.
She is not the only bursary recipient eager to have a stethoscope dangling from her neck.
“My lifelong dream of becoming a doctor is moving forward,” said Marwa Janbaz.
Originally from Afghanistan, her family fled to Pakistan, where a lack of student financial aid meant Janbaz had all but abandoned her hopes of pursuing post-secondary education. She gushed over the opportunities afforded to her here. She will be studying at the U of R as well.

Regina receives an average 215 government-assisted refugees per year, but that has surged to nearly 600 in 2016 because of the federal government’s Syrian refugee resettlement goals.

Worldwide, 65.3 million people were displaced by the end of last year, including 21.3 million refugees and the remainder forced to flee their homes but staying in their home countries. Half are children.

Dietrich considers World Refugee Day this year a particularly important time to stress empathy. He called refugees “ordinary people living through extraordinary times.”
With the influx of Syrian refugees, he believes people are better understanding refugees’ plight, pointing to how well Reginans stepped up with donations and volunteering their time.

“I think European countries could learn a lot from Canada and our resettlement programming,” he said.
Dietrich added, referring to Europe: “Here we have this mass migration of people and countries are putting up borders like they did back in Second World War. We’re very much hoping that people can see beyond that, and look at everyone as an individual, as a family, and help them.”

A group of refugees participating in Regina Open Door Society’s World Refugee Day celebrations in City Square Plaza in Regina on Monday. (Photo by Troy Fleece)