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Empowerment Squared 2021 Scholarship and Award 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, thirteen scholarships were awarded on June 23rd, 2021 and the online event provided the community the opportunity to meet the amazing scholarship recipients (and donors), to hear the incredible stories of their accomplishments and aspirations, and to discover how Empowerment Squared’s educational support ecosystem is continuing to create success and opportunities. 

The full online event can be viewed below:


Happier and Healthier Hamilton Scholarship

Recipient: Azeezat Ogungbe

This year’s recipient of the Happier and Healthier Hamilton Scholarship is Azeezat  Ogungbe. Born in Nigeria, Azeezat and her family migrated to Canada in 2018. Currently, Azeezat is a first year student at York University studying Business Economics. She is passionate about being involved in the community as she believes that giving back is the best way of showing appreciation. 

Established in 2020, this scholarship is inspired by F45 Hamilton Downtown’s mission of helping Hamiltonians become their happiest and healthiest selves so that they can be active participants and contributors to our community. F45 Hamilton Downtown is a group fitness community located in the heart of Hamilton’s downtown core.

 

Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship
Recipient: Oluwakorede Sam Soneye

This year’s recipient of the Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship is Oluwakorede (Sam) Soneye. Sam moved from Nigeria with his mother and sisters to escape a dangerous situation. Since arriving in Canada, Sam has become involved in his community, like volunteering as a videographer in his local church’s media team. Sam hopes to pursue a career in cyber security and computer forensics after post-secondary education and bring pride to his family. 

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.


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 three years ago and struggled to adapt to the education system. She joined Empowerment Squared’s Homework Circle Program where she was able to work with mentors through the adjustment period. As the recipient of last year’s fellowship, Anya was able to work alongside Empowerment Squared staff to assist in the emergency support programs for families affected by the pandemic. Anya would love to pursue acting or singing 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 Lime Ridge Future Leader Fellowship
Recipient: Mohlil Imran

This year’s recipient of the CF Lime Ridge Future Leader Fellowship is Mohlil Imran. Born in Pakistan, Mohlil moved to Canada five years ago where she experienced challenges in learning how to speak fluent English. Drawing from her success in overcoming the language barrier, she joined the Summer Literacy Program as a mentor to support children in improving their English language skill. As a leader in her community, Mohlil is actively involved in the student council in her school and volunteering with organizations in the community. She hopes to pursue a career in health care and start a non profit organization focused on supporting children and advocating for women’s rights. 

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


Ibhawoh Foundation Male Mentorship Fellowship
Recipient: Achieve Theophilus Kiadii

This year’s recipient of the Ibhawoh Foundation Male Mentorship Fellowship is Theophilus Kiadii. Theophilus immigrated to Canada with his family at a very young age. He joined Empowerment Squared’s Basketball Program to pursue his passion for sports after being unable to find any accessible basketball program in Hamilton for years. Through this program, he was able to work on his social skills, self – confidence and make new friends. He plans to graduate high school and pursue a career as either 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 home country Liberia and ensure that kids have access to education and sports.

Established in 2020 by the Ibhawoh Foundation, a Foundation whose mission is 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 skills for the workforce.


CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship
Recipient: Abbira Nadarajah

This year’s recipient of the CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship is Abbira Nadarajah. Abbira is a third year student at McMaster University in the Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization program with a minor in Health, Aging and Society. Her family immigrated to Canada as result of the genocide of Tamils in Eelam, geographically known as Sri Lanka. Abbira has over 180 hours of volunteering with Empowerment Squared in the Homework Circle and E-Movement Programs. She aspires to have a career in health policy that addresses the gaps in healthcare and  provides solutions to the affected communities.

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.


CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship
Recipient: Darshana Seeburruth

This year’s recipient of the CF Lime Ridge Community Impact Scholarship is Darshana Seerburruth. Darshan is a first generation university student at McMaster in her second year of the Life Sciences program. She moved to Canada with her family in 2010. Growing up, her family faced financial problems which motivated Darshana to join Empowerment Squared as a volunteer to alleviate educational barriers faced by low-income and immigrant families. As well, she volunteered in the Summer Literacy and Arts programs and has over 120 hours of volunteering with Empowerment Squared. Darshana hopes to pursue a career in medicine with a focus on health equity and access to healthcare for marginalized communities.

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.

 

Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship
Recipient: Archana Thurairajah

This year’s recipient of the Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship is Archana Thurairajah. Archana is a 4th year Honors Biology and Immunology double-major at McMaster University. She is also a founding member of the Empowerment Squared @ Mac student club at McMaster University. Born in Sri Lanka, her family had to flee the civil war and resettled to Canada when she was 2 years old. She has a long-standing passion for volunteering in her community and has spent over 80 hours volunteering at Empowerment Squared’s Academic Mentoring Program as a senior mentor and E-Movement program. Her lifelong dream is to become an orthodontist.

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 Chanan.


Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship

Recipient: Alexander Zakharia

This year’s recipient of the Chanan Singh Sandhu Scholarship is Alexander Zakharia. Alexander is a third year Honours Biochemistry student at McMaster University. Born in Bahrain to an Iraqi mother and Lebanese father, Alexander lived there till he was 11 years old. After getting tear gassed at a birthday party during the Bahrain Uprising, his family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to avoid the escalating protests. His family had to move back to Bahrain for financial reasons, however Alexander made the decision to move back on his own to complete his post-secondary education in 2018. He started volunteering with Empowerment Squared in 2018 in the Digital Literacy program as a way to meet with people in the community and later on went to volunteer in the Homework Circle program. Alexander enjoys working with children and hopes to become a pediatrician in the future. 

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 Chanan.


Nu Omega Zeta Sorority Volunteering Award
Recipient:
Kamika Sylvester

This year’s recipient of the Nu Omega Zeta Sorority Volunteering Award is Kamika Sylvester. A Life Sciences graduate from McMaster University, Kamika is currently enrolled in the Scholar Practitioner accelerated nursing program at Nipissing University. Through volunteering with Empowerment Squared and Nu Omega Zeta Sorority, she developed a passion for community service. She is also very involved in her community with a focus on health care advocacy, education and civic engagement. Her lived experiences as a patient and a member of a marginalized group is the main driving force behind pursuing a career in nursing with the goal of leading initiatives to improve access to health care in her community and supporting and mentoring other aspiring nurses. 

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.  This award is given annually to a current or past mentor of Empowerment Squared who is also a soror of Nu Omega Zeta sorority and is commencing or currently enrolled in post-secondary studies at an Ontario university or college and in the judgement of the selection committee, demonstrates a commitment to the principles of sisterhood, volunteerism and knowledge.


Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship

Recipient: Adaora Udeze

This year’s recipient of the Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship is Adaora Udeze. Adaora immigrated to Canada in 2018 with her children. While working as a Personal Support Worker, she made the decision to enrol at Hamilton Wentworth Catholic Elementary school so as to complete the required prerequisite courses needed to enrol in the practical nursing program at Mohawk College. She hopes to complete the program to be better equipped to support herself and her family. 

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 who emigrated from Guyana to Canada in 1983.

 

Emerging Needs Award
Recipient: Gabriela Melara De Hernandez

This year’s recipient of the Emerging Needs Award is Gabriela Melara De Hernandez. Originally from El Salvador, Gabriela moved to Canada in 2015 to provide a safer future for her family. Gabriela’s children have been involved in numerous programs at Empowerment Squared such as Arts, Soccer, Summer Literacy and Homework Circle. Very passionate about cooking, Gabriela hopes to pursue education in the culinary industry and fulfil her dream of opening a Salvadorian restaurant. She believes that with education, people can become anything that they want to be. 

 

Youssef Family Academic Award
Recipient:
Javier Eduardo Trejo Maldonado

This year’s recipient of the Youssef Family Academic Award is Javier Eduardo Trejo Maldonado. Originally from Venezuela, Javier immigrated to Canada with his family four years ago. On moving to Canada, Javier had to adapt to the new culture, language and weather. As a participant of the Digital Literacy program at Empowerment Squared, Javier gained valuable skills that have been of tremendous help on his academic journey. In addition, his daughter is also enrolled in Homework Circle and the Arts program. Javier hopes to continue to advance professionally in the sales industry and build a better life for himself and his family. 

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 daily challenges. 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.

 

 

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to our donors whose investments are transforming the lives of community members through the power of education. To learn more about supporting the Scholarship and Awards Program at Empowerment Squared, contact Lisa-Marie Smith, Manager of Major Gifts at l.smith@empowermentsquared.org.

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