Africa Centre scholarships help students from emerging communities achieve post-secondary success

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Recipient Khemis Marsuk, 25, received $2,000 to apply toward his $35,000 tuition fee at CDI College, where he is taking a cybersecurity program for the next 18 months. An electrician who came to Canada from South Sudan in 2011, Marsuk is a volunteer with the South Sudan Youth of Canada.

“I’m glad there is a program out there that can support people,” said Marsuk. “It makes a difference.”

Youth from emerging communities have challenges that mainstream Canadian youth may not face, says scholarship recipient Andrew Jimaga, 24, who is entering his fourth year of a commerce degree at the University of Alberta.

“Going to a school where you are different, with other people who were born here and grew up with the culture — the way they dress, use the computer,” said Jimaga, who received $4,000. “As a new immigrant, you have to learn all these things from scratch. And you have to catch up fast if you want to succeed. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind.”

Jimaga came to Canada as a refugee from Uganda with his parents and two brothers in 2011. As the eldest, he had extra responsibilities, such as caring for his siblings while his father worked and his mother took English classes. Jimaga says his experience was made easier by having access to after-school programs and homework clubs manned by volunteers.

“One of the biggest things is the financial support,” he said. “The (scholarship) covers part of my tuition, and then I work in the summer so that during the school year, I don’t have to work as much, so I can focus on my studies.”

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