The University of Winnipeg honours World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations in recognition of refugees around the globe and their resilience in rebuilding their lives in new countries.
In order to help my community and other disadvantaged groups, my desire to become a humanitarian and pursue a career in conflict resolution creates the groundwork for me to join a responsible organization.
Thanks to the collaboration between the Immigrant and Refugee Student Service (IRSS) and World University Service of Canada (WUSC), UWinnipeg is able to help refugee students obtain their degrees.
Meet Harriet Kabasomi and Abdiraham Nuh
Kabasomi and Nuh have both survived the perils of civil war and refugee camps to come and study at UWinnipeg and begin a new life in Canada.
Kabasomi is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She came to UWinnipeg through WUSC’s refugee sponsorship from Uganda, where she had asylum for 16 years.
Kabasomi credits WUSC for providing the best Student Refugee Program (SRP) opportunity, which helped her apply for a scholarship that allowed her to come and study at UWinnipeg.
Growing up in a refugee camp, Kabasomi has firsthand experience as a member of a vulnerable population and witnessing the lack of human rights and basic human needs. Her experience has inspired her to improve the lives of other vulnerable people.
“I want to honour the community that helped me when I sought protection,” shared Kabasomi. ‘In order to help my community and other disadvantaged groups, my desire to become a humanitarian and pursue a career in conflict resolution creates the groundwork for me to join a responsible organization.”
When Kabasomi first arrived, it was not easy. She credits her SRP colleagues and the local community who helped her find her way in her new home. She also found comfort in knowing she was not alone at an event sponsored by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada.
Seeing other students with similar experiences gave her inspiration and hope.
“I enjoy going to UWinnipeg and learning new things,” noted Kabasomi. She advises new students to always ask for help: “Keeping issues for yourself does not solve them, but rather makes them escalate, which can be toxic to mental well-being.”
Nuh was born in Somalia in a town called Beled Xaawo in the Gedo region. He came to UWinnipeg thanks to his strong will and determination for a better life. He is studying computer science.
Nuh found a welcoming community that helped him to integrate into Canadian life. He found getting a sense of belonging right from the start was essential.
“Fortunately, the local committee was more than willing to help,” shared Nuh. “They provided invaluable guidance and support. Thanks to their open arms, the transition to university life was made much easier.”
Nuh choose computer science because it’s a dynamic and rapidly growing area that has become an integral part of the world that we live in today. He found his courses well-curated, taught by experienced teachers and with small class sizes.
“My positive learning environment was further enhanced by my many extracurricular activities and clubs, providing me an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals,” said Nuh. “It was an amazing journey and an honor to be part of this community.”
Nuh’s advise for new students is comprehensive. He encourages his colleagues to:
- Attend orientation to get familiar with campus and meet other students in their program;
- Meet with academic advisors and professors to discuss academic goals;
- Join student-led clubs or organizations;
- Utilize campus resources, such as the library, writing center, tutoring services, and career services;
- Take care of your mental and physical health;
- And, most importantly, enjoy the university experience.