WUSC program at Mount Allison expands to welcome Afghan student refugee
The WUSC (World University Services of Canada) chapter at Mount Allison University has expanded its reach with plans to assist an Afghan student with refugee status through the national organization’s Canadian Student Refugee Program.
Mount Allison will plan to welcome a student from Afghanistan in the Fall 2022 term through the program, which provides student refugees with resources to study in Canada. The University has provided additional financial support to assist the sponsorship.
Geography and environment student Annie Martel is a long-time volunteer with WUSC. She says when the call for assistance came from WUSC, the Mount Allison chapter started working towards ideas for ways to help.
“In 2021, WUSC put out a call to university chapters for assistance to support Afghan students affected by the crisis in that country through its Student Refugee Program. The focus is particularly on women and girls, whose educational opportunities are greatly limited under Taliban rule,” explains Martel. “Our group, with staff members in the University’s International Centre, started looking at ways we could assist right away.”
Martel currently serves as co-President of the Student Refugee Program with the WUSC Mount Allison.
Mount Allison’s WUSC program supports a new student refugee every second year, providing funding and support to students throughout their studies. This funding model, providing full support to the student in the first year and then additional support over the next three years, is unique to Mount Allison.
“Mount Allison is the only WUSC chapter in the province with a local sponsoring committee focused on the student refugee program,” says Tess Casher, Mount Allison English student and Student Refugee co-President with the University’s WUSC chapter. “We couldn’t bring students to campus without the support of Mount Allison. It makes a big difference.”
Both Casher and Martel have been involved with WUSC for several years, first as high school students at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and then at Mount Allison. They are part of a group of approximately ten students on campus that volunteer, along with Christa Maston, the University’s International Student Advisor and WUSC Staff Advisor, to support student refugees through the national WUSC organization.
The addition of the Afghan sponsorship program will help bring a new student refugee to the Mount Allison campus two years in a row.
The expanded WUSC student refugee program at Mount Allison has received one year of full funding from the University. The student organization is working to raise additional supports for the student throughout their degree program. A student referendum will be held through the MASU on Feb. 11 to help engage support from the student body for the new sponsorship.
About WUSC: WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization working to create a better world for all young people. The group bring together a diverse network of students, volunteers, schools, governments, and businesses who share this vision. WUSC fosters youth-centred solutions for education, economic opportunities, and empowerment to overcome inequality and exclusion in over 25 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Its flagship program, the Student Refugee Program, has been providing Canadian post-secondary education and resettlement opportunities to young refugees for over 40 years.