Thursday, June 1, 2023

Fleeing Afghan Refugee Wins Prestigious ‘Loran Award’

Immigration News

Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi is a journalist and editor for Khaama Press. You may follow him @nizamrezahi on Twitter.

Banin Arjmand, a 20-year-old refugee who fled Afghanistan with her parents after the Taliban seized control in August 2021, won a prestigious scholarship to pursue her higher education at a Canadian university.

Currently, Arjmand lives in Saskatoon, finishing her high school diploma at Nutana Collegiate and working part-time to support herself and her family.

Freshly arrived in Toronto, Arjmand thought she could not afford university tuition. However, she did not succumb to the challenges and made every effort to find a way to continue her studies.

Being advised by one of her professors, she applied for the prestigious Loran Award, a scholarship valued at more than $100,000 over four years, she figured she didn’t have anything to lose. 

The application process is demanding and brought back painful memories for Arjmand, how she fled her home country and left her friends, and good memories behind.

“For me, it was like a flashback of everything I’ve been through. It made me think of every detail of my life. I ended up crying,” Arjmand told CBC News.

On Thursday, the Loran Scholars Foundation announced that Arjmand had won one of 36 Loran Awards. About 5,000 students from across Canada apply for scholarships every year.

The four-year scholarship program consists of a yearly stipend, free tuition at one of 25 Canadian universities, summer work experience, mentorship, and networking.

Arjmand says the scholarship is life-changing for her. “I am sure through this foundation, I’m going to know myself more, learn more about this new world, and do better.”

While Arjmand is excited about her future, she worries about the girls and women in Afghanistan who have been deprived of their fundamental rights to go to school, to work, or to move freely under the Taliban regime.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the interim regime has issued more than 30 verdicts, barring Afghan women and girls from attending education, work, and public life.

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