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University of Regina establishes Project Resilience to support students affected by war

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: April 20, 2022 2:35 p.m.

Zohra Zahir is one of many students whose home countries have been affected by war and political violence.
Zohra Zahir is one of many students whose home countries have been affected by war and political violence. Credit: Provided by Zohra Zahir.

Zohra Zahir is a PhD candidate with the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina. After living in other, larger cities like Kabul and Delhi, she fell in love with how peaceful Regina is. However, she often thinks about her family members, including five siblings, who live in her home country of Afghanistan.

With students like Zahir in mind, the University of Regina has created a fund to support students affected by war, or other forms of political violence, in their home countries so they may continue their studies at the U of R. Project Resilience will establish scholarships, provide emergency funds, and deliver other supports for these students and their families.

“Any scholarship is amazing, it just takes so much pressure off your mind. It can change your future, and it gives students hope,” says Zahir. “Once you have this knowledge, no one can take it from you. These students are now in a safe country, they are in a great community, and at the same time, they are able to pursue their dreams.”

Financial assistance provided through this program will include scholarships equal to tuition and course fees for qualifying students. As well, the University will provide a stipend of $1,000 a year to cover the cost of books and supplies. Four new award packages will be made available each year and will be renewable for an additional three years. This means that within a few years, up to 16 students will be financially supported at any given time.

Additionally, qualifying students will be provided with U of R health and well-being supports and services such as academic counselling and and UR International supports.

“The situation in Ukraine has highlighted once again how abruptly war can devastate students and families from countries around the world through no fault of their own, disrupting their homes, their lives, and their academic studies,” says Dr. Jeff Keshen, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through Project Resilience, the University of Regina is acknowledging the suffering and hardship experienced by families in war zones, and working to alleviate it by providing financial assistance to students from these countries who come to study here.”

During her time at the U of R, Zahir has enjoyed the sense of community, as well as the diversity of students, faculty and staff. This creates an overall feeling of belonging for her, and she has found that everyone is always willing to help and answer questions. While she is happy to be at the U of R pursuing her PhD, she knows that there are many students, including her own sisters, whose education has been put on hold due to the violence and uncertainty in their home countries.

“There are lots of girls, and they cannot go to school or university. This kind of scholarship sends a message that education and knowledge is power,” says Zahir. “It can change your whole life, you can support yourself and your family. Even if you need to send money to your family back at home, you won’t have to drop out of school to do so.”

For more information about the Project Resilience scholarship, students can email Christine McBain, Associate Director, Enrolment Services at Christine.McBain@uregina.ca.

If you would like to make a donation to Project Resilience, visit https://giving.uregina.ca/.

 

The University has committed to creating a healthy campus community and learning environment in its 2020-25 strategic plan All Our Relations, or kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak in Cree. Well-being and Belonging is one of the five areas of focus in the plan, with three interconnected objectives within it: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Healthy Living; and Mental Health Literacy and Research.

 

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