There is always hope of becoming successful

My name is Isaac Wani. I came to Canada in December 2020 through the Student Refugee Program (SRP) from Maaji II refugee settlement in Adjumani District, Uganda. I am originally from South Sudan (Kajo-Keji). I am currently pursuing an honors undergraduate degree in Economics and a Minor in Mathematics at Huron University College in London, Ontario.

I first heard about the Student Refugee Program (SRP) from a friend in 2018 when the program first started in Uganda. I was ineligible to apply for the program that year because I was still in my last term of Senior Six (S.6). Because it was the first of its kind in Uganda, I worked very hard that term to obtain the grades that would enable me to be selected for the program since I knew that my chances of pursuing higher education were limited due to my humble background. When results came out, I did well. I had to wait for Windle International Uganda (WIU) to put up the next call for applications in 2019. By the grace of God, I was one of the students who were selected that year and I finally moved to Canada.

It has been a learning process for me. Starting a new life in Canada at first was not easy since everything was new to me especially the cold weather, I was not used to winter at first, the culture, Canadian accent, different food. Homesickness, culture shock, new cultural norms and values were also some of the challenges I faced. However, with time, I made new friends and I have gotten to know how things are done. My WUSC Local Committee also did a great job in welcoming and helping me transition into Canadian culture.

Since moving to Canada, I have been able to work while studying, something I have never done before when I was in Uganda. This has enabled me to support the education of my younger siblings through supporting them financially, and it has enabled me to support my family with some of the other necessities of life. All in all, the Student Refugee Program is a life changing opportunity for many young refugees.

I am looking forward to actively volunteering with organizations that support refugee education, so that we have more opportunities to enable more refugees access education. As a team, we are looking forward to starting up initiatives that promote girl-child education in the refugee settlements as a way of giving back to the community

The message of hope that I can share with other refugees around the world is ‘’we did not choose to be refugees but the circumstances in our respective countries of origin forced us to be. As long as we are still alive, there is always hope of becoming successful, through hard work, prayers and determination.’’

The Student Refugee Program is a unique and fantastic program that enables refugees to start a new safe life in Canada as permanent residents while attending Canadian universities, which I am thankful for. I would love to call upon more individuals, organizations, and governments to support the Student Refugee Program so that more refugees can have access to higher education.

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