The Student Refugee Program (SRP) combines resettlement of young refugee students with opportunities for higher education. It began in 1978 with the placement of one student at Carleton University, and the program has now expanded to place approximately 130 students per year at more than 80 campuses. Since its beginning, the SRP has now allowed more than 1700 students to further their education in a safe and supportive environment in schools across Canada.
WUSC Canada identifies refugee students in need of this opportunity and allows WUSC Local Committees, like ours here at Queen’s, to sponsor students in WUSC’s name.
The SRP is especially successful due to its unique peer to peer model, which places current university or college students in roles as active social and academic supports for the sponsored students. The Local Queen’s Committee also raises funds and awareness for the SRP and other global concerns on campus as well as within Kingston. This year we have supported two sponsored students, and aim to welcome another two this coming September.
The long-lasting impacts of this program can be seen through a 2007 study which found that 97% of sponsored students were in the process of completing or had completed their post-secondary program. Many intended to further their education, and 85% had found work in a related field after graduation. The program also builds hope for the future within the sponsored students’ communities, and encourages younger students to remain in primary and secondary schools with the goal to apply to be an SRP student after graduating.