Friday August 31, 2018
(ERGO) – Maryan Mohamed Nur, 23, said goodbye to her
family and friends in Dadaab’s IFO refugee camp this month as she set
off on the education journey of her dreams, after winning a scholarship
along with 15 other refugee students to go to university in Canada.
Since fleeing with her seven-member family from Kismayo, Lower Juba,
in 2008, Maryan spent the last 10 years in Dadaab dreaming of a better
She used a flashlight to do her homework as a child at night when
they had no light bulbs. After finishing high school in 2015, she
started teaching in Sahal secondary school in Dhagahley camp, where one
day she saw a flier pinned to the wall calling for applications for the
Maryan signed up and sat the oral and written exam. She was one of
six female and 10 male students awarded a scholarship under the annual
scheme funded by the World University Service of Canada.
“My mother helped me reach this level, because it is the house chores
that usually distract the girls from pursuing their education but my
mother didn’t make me do those chores, she did them herself,” Maryan
told Radio Ergo.
“I have chosen to study medicine at university. I chose it because I
like it and I would like to specialize in women’s health, and I hope to
give back to my people,” she said.
Jibril Isaq Mohamed, the head of Windle Trust that oversees education
and student affairs in Dadaab, said a total of 42 students applied for
the programme. He explained that the selection criteria include having
lived for minimum three years in the refugee camp, and a high school
certificate with an overall B+ pass mark for boys and B- for girls.
Maryan and 12 of the scholars flew from Nairobi to Canada on 21 August. The remaining three are set to depart on 5 September.
The programme began in 2004, when only one student in Dadaab was
awarded a scholarship. Since then varying numbers of awards have been
made every year. When the students complete their studies they are
given the option of remaining in Canada or returning home.