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Empowerment Squared announces 2020 scholarship recipients

Empowerment Squared post-secondary awards and scholarships support newcomer and marginalized youth and adults who participate or have participated in Empowerment Squared’s programming to succeed in post-secondary education and ultimately empower themselves with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.

This year, fourteen scholarships were awarded.

 

Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship
Recipient: Abdi Sidnoor

This year’s recipient of the Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship is Abdi Sidnoor. Abdi is a graduate of Empowerment Squared’s academic mentoring program and is entering his third year of studies at the University of Windsor doing a double major in Human Kinetics and Biochemistry. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tazania, Abdi arrived in Canada in 2010 as a Government-Assisted Refugee after spending several years on multiple refugee camps in Kenya.

Established in 2019 by long-time supporter Anju Joshi and her four siblings to honour their parents’ resilience, inclusiveness, commitment to their community and their generosity of spirit. Nirmal and Om Joshi emigrated from India to Prince Edward Island, Canada with their five children in 1968. Mrs. Nirmal Joshi is known for her creativity and talents which she shared with an open heart with all whose paths crossed with hers. Mr. Om Joshi’s dedication to education has helped to inspire hundreds of young people to pursue higher education.

 

Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship
Recipient: Dinamen De Jesus

This year’s recipient of the Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship is Dinamen De Jesus. Dinamen was born in Canada, she is interested in bringing more diversity to mental health services in Canada and would like to help diverse communities deal with issues of stigma affecting people with mental Health.

Established in 2018 by Illuminessence, a distinctive magazine with a mission to celebrate, illuminate and inspire women, the Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship seeks to foster a commitment to leadership, excellence, community development and social justice among girls from diverse communities.

 

Joana J Fejzaj Community Engagement Scholarship
Recipient: Suffia Malik

This year’s recipient of the Joana J Fejzaj Community Engagement Scholarship is Suffia Malik. Suffia is a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim woman who have survived through generations of systemic opposition by fighting for civil and human rights. She is passionate about human rights and access to social justice for oppressed people. Currently, she advocates for members of religious minority communities in Hamilton and is actively conducting research into the effects of Bill 21, a bill passed by in Quebec that prohibits certain professional categories from wearing religious symbols. Suffia hopes to become a physician and an effective community organizer for human rights and social justice. She is a mentor at Empowerment Squared’s academic mentoring program and has contributed over 40 hours with the program.

Established in 2018 by Joana Fejzaj, longstanding Empowerment Squared supporter and staff member, and partner Sean Karoonian, to recognize the exceptional community contributions of Bob McDonald, Ranmalee Kulendra, Patrick Fernando, Marufa Shinwari, Jennifer Hompoth, Lisa Watt, Sheila Sammon, Tim Nolan, Jennie Vengris, Gisela Oliveira, Michelle Corbeil, and Mandeep Malik.

 

Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship
Recipient: Heba Shahaed

This year’s recipient of the Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship is Heba Shahaed. Originally from India, Heba is a third-year health sciences student at McMaster University.  She hopes to become a physician and use her practice of medicine as form of empowerment for diverse and cultural communities. Her passion for supporting young children led her to Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program where she has contributed over 40 hours as a mentor.

Established in 2020, this scholarship is given in honour of the incredible legacy of Chanan Sandhu. Chanan and his wife Charan Sandhu were the founders and owners of Merit Furniture in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which they used as a platform to provide opportunities to hundreds of newcomers to Canada. This award was established by the Sandhu family and is supported by MERIT Brewery, which was founded by Tej Sandhu, inspired by his grandfather Charan.

 

Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship
Recipient: Arinze Ochuba

This year’s recipient of the Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship is Arinze Ochuba. Ari is a homework circle, elementary program assistant who has volunteered over 50 hours of his time in his first year with Empowerment Squared, in addition to volunteering with numerous groups on campus. Ari is working towards becoming a practicing pediatrician.

Established in 2020, this scholarship is given in honour of the incredible legacy of Chanan Sandhu. Chanan and his wife Charan Sandhu were the founders and owners of Merit Furniture in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which they used as a platform to provide opportunities to hundreds of newcomers to Canada. This award was established by the Sandhu family and is supported by MERIT Brewery, which was founded by Tej Sandhu, inspired by his grandfather Charan.

 

CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship
Recipient: Hisham Mohammad

This year’s recipient of the CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship is Hisham Mohammad. Hisham is in his final year of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. Born in India, he was diagnosed with spinal cord atrophy, causing paralysis from the mid-chest down shortly after birth. He refused to become a victim of his circumstances ever since. His family immigrated to Canada in 2002 when he was eight years old to enable Hisham have a better quality of life and an equal opportunity to pursue his ambitions despite his disability. He joined Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program as a mentor in 2019 and has contributed over 40 hours working with students from kindergarten through high school.

Established in 2020 by CF Lime Ridge and led by General Manager Liem Vu, Cadillac Fairview continues to put community first. CF Lime Ridge is proud to activate its purpose of transforming communities for a vibrant tomorrow through this scholarship.

 

CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship
Recipient: Archana Thurairajah

This year’s recipient of the CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship is Archana Thurairajah. Archana is a 3rd year Honors Biology major at McMaster University. Born in Sri Lanka, his family had to flee civil war and resettled to Canada when he was 2 years old. He has a long-standing passion for volunteering and has spent the last two years volunteering at Empowerment Squared’s Academic Mentoring Program as a senior mentor. His greatest dream is to become an orthodontist.

Established in 2020 by CF Lime Ridge and led by General Manager Liem Vu, Cadillac Fairview continues to put community first. CF Lime Ridge is proud to activate its purpose of transforming communities for a vibrant tomorrow through this scholarship.

 

Nu Omega Zeta Sorority Volunteering Award
Recipient: Jet’aime Fray

This year’s recipient of the Nu Omega Zeta Sorority Volunteering Award is Jet’aime Fray. A 4th year Honours Social Psychology at McMaster University, Je’taime was born and raised in Toronto by a single mother of three children. Due to her long – standing passion for teaching, she joined Empowerment Squared’s Academic Mentoring and Sports and Recreation Programs two years ago where she became a senior mentor contributing over 40 hours of volunteering yearly. Pursuing post-secondary education is important to Jet’aime because her parents did not have such access. She wants to inspire her parents that regardless of not having the means, one’s goals can still be achieved through hard work and dedication.

Established in 2019 by Nu Omega Zeta Sorority, Canada’s first founded black focused greek lettered organization, the Nu Omega Zeta Sorority Volunteerism Award seeks to foster a commitment to the three pillars of the sorority- sisterhood, volunteerism and knowledge.

 

Black Girl Innovation Fellowship
Recipient: Anya Samuel

This year’s recipient of the Black Girl Innovation Fellowship is Anya Samuel. Born in Antigua, Anya immigrated to Canada about two years ago and struggled to adapt to the education system. Currently enrolled at Bernie Custis Secondary School, she joined Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program where she was able to work with mentors through the adjustment period. She is also a participant of the Basketball Program and relishes the opportunity to play against the mentors and staff of Empowerment Squared after losing in the inaugural match last year. Anya would love to pursue teaching or acting because it is a powerful way of expressing herself.

Established in 2019 by Nu Omega Zeta Sorority, Canada’s first founded black focused Greek lettered organization, the Black Girl Innovation Fellowship seeks to empower black females in high school to develop professional skills for the workforce.

 

CF Limeridge Future Leader Fellowship
Recipient: Princess Kollie

This year’s recipient of the CF Limeridge Future Leader Fellowship is Princess Kollie. Born in Liberia, Princess immigrated to Canada two years ago to reunite with her mother after decades of separation. Currently enrolled at Cathedral High School, Princess immediately joined Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program upon arrival given the difficulty of transitioning to the education system in Canada. Recently, she received an academic award from her school due to her extraordinary academic improvement and excellence. She hopes to achieve a high school diploma and continue her education at college as a foundation for a better life.

Established in 2020 by CF Lime Ridge, the Fellowship seeks to empower high school students through professional development and soft skills for the workforce.

 

Ibhawoh Foundation Male Mentorship Fellowship
Recipient: Theophilus Kiadii

This year’s recipient of the Ibhawoh Foundation Male Mentorship Fellowship is Theophilus Kiadii. Theophilus immigrated to Canada with his family about six years ago after spending his childhood on the Refugee Camp in Sierra Leone. He joined Empowerment Squared’s Basketball Program to pursue his passion for the sports after being unable to find any accessible basketball program in Hamilton for years. He also wanted to work on his social skills, self – confidence and make new friends. He would like to graduate high school and pursue a career as a professional basketball player or a business agent. He hopes to do well and make his family proud both through his professional and community work. He also wants to help his native country Liberia and ensure many kids can have access to education and sports.

Established in 2020 by the Ibhawoh Foundation with a mission to support education, youth empowerment and community development, the Ibhawoh Foundation Male Mentorship Fellowship seeks to develop supportive mentoring relationships to promote positive outcomes for young males and to empower boys in high school to develop professional and soft skills for the workforce.

 

Youssef Family Academic Award
Recipient: Amtul Lateef

This year’s recipient of the Youssef Family Academic Award is Amtul Lateef. Amtul immigrated to Canada few years ago with her three children fleeing prosecution in Pakistan. She and her children joined various Empowerment Squared’s programs and feels supported with settling in Canada as well as support for her children’s education and transition in school.

Established in 2019 by Tony Youssef , this scholarship is in honour of Yokhanna Youssef and Younia Chlimon who fled Syria in 1989 with their three children, aged seven, four and three. The family resided in Germany for seven years before being sponsored to immigrate into Canada. Canada was a very welcoming country, but as a new family they struggled to start their new life. Learning a new language, finding work & affordable housing, worrying how to put food on the table, navigating the transit system amongst many other things, were a daily challenge. This scholarship is important to the Youssef family as it recognizes the struggles that newcomer families face when they immigrate to Canada. and they are honoured to pay it forward.

 

Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship
Recipient: Jeannie Rodriguez

This year’s recipient of the Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship is Jeannie Rodriguez. Jeannie immigrated to Canada from Venezuela with her husband and two children in 2016 fleeing civil unrest and violence. They immediately enrolled their children at Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program and have been able to work with mentors in making a successful transition to the education system. Jeannie hopes to improve her English through continuing education and gain more confidence to continue her professional career in International Business Management.

Established in 2018 by Priya Goorbarry, Director of Operations and Administration at Empowerment Squared and her sister Alicia Goorbarry, to recognize the exceptional dedication to education and charitable leadership of their father, Andrew L Goorbarry.

 

Sevigny Family Award for Academic Excellence
Recipient: Dariana Araque

This year’s recipient of the Sevigny Family Award for Academic Excellence is Dariana Araque. Originally from Venezuela, Dariana has been in Canada for less than three years. In that time, she has participated in Empowerment Squared’s digital literacy program twice and is a volunteer on the student council with Mohawk College. She is pursuing an Auto-Cad program at Mohawk College with the hopes of finding a job in the engineering field.

Established in 2018, this award is given in honour of Georges and Savitsa Sévigny, parents of Dr Alex Sévigny, founding Empowerment Squared board member. Georges Sévigny devoted his professional life to helping immigrant, refugee and at-risk youth through his career as a high school teacher at Westview Centennial High School in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood in Toronto, and Savitsa Sévigny taught many generations of French teachers through the education degree programme at York University.

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