By: Nick Scott
In the past few years, there has been a large increase of the number of refugees fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya, and more, all which have been torn asunder by conflict and violence. The conditions under which these refugees live are often overlooked, although they form crucial aspects of their experiences. And without understanding how others live, how can we understand their plight, and what can we do to help?
A group of students here at UPEI is hosting an event on October 28th to answer just those questions. WUSC (World University Service of Canada) is a national nonprofit that gives universities the opportunity to sponsor and work with young refugees. These sponsorships allow refugee students to come to Canada, to pursue their studies at UPEI to achieve the goal of a post-secondary education.
In addition, WUSC works diligently to promote an understanding of the plight refugees undergo, and strives to educate students about different international development topics that they can learn about and have an impact upon. Not only do they want to teach students about what refugees are going through on a personal level, but they also want students to understand that the refugee crisis is one in which each person can make a large difference.
In a way, we as a student body all have an impact on these sponsorship programs, and thus make a large difference in the refugee crisis; If you ever wondered what that three dollar charge towards WUSC was on your student balance, well… now you know! Those three dollars give WUSC the opportunity to sponsor one refugee student each year, a huge impact for such a seemingly small donation.
Thus, since we are all involved with WUSC, it only makes sense to understand what we’re contributing to. With this in mind, with the goal of raising awareness and interest in the living conditions of refugees WUSC will be putting on a display of what a refugee camp would look like on October 28th, from 10 am to 3 pm in the UPEI W.A. Murphy Student Centre, in the Macmillan Dining Hall.
The event will be fully interactive, with discussions and examples of refugee living conditions and the food they eat. There will be displays of shelters common to many refugee camps, and there will also be special guests who have first-hand experience working with refugees to answer any questions you may have, along with information booths and an online refugee experience simulation “Against All Odds”, developed by the United Nations refugee agency.
There will also be a documentary screening and discussion through Cinema Politica later in the evening for those who would like to explore the issues faced by refugees further. More information about the screening will be provided at the refugee campus display, so be sure to come!
For more information, contact Katie Vanleeuwen or Emily Sutherland, two WUSC committee members at firstname.lastname@example.org