(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – May 9, 2016): Algoma University is pleased to announce the safe arrival of Blandine Mulera the 2016 World University Service of Canada (WUSC) student from Rwanda. Mulera arrived in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday after a long flight from Malawi, where she had been living in a refugee camp since 2000. Upon arriving in Canada, Mulera was greeted by two sisters and her brother, other WUSC students currently studying throughout Canada. This is their first reunion since they left Malawi.
In 1994, Mulera and her family, consisting of her two brothers, five sisters, and father, fled Rwanda at the outbreak of the Rwandan Genocide. In 2000, they found shelter in a central Malawi refugee camp. They lived in a small, temporary mud and plastic house. Food was delivered once a month to the camp, and they were able to leave the camp to earn a primary and secondary school education. Mulera’s elder siblings were one-by-one accepted into the WUSC program, studying in Sudbury and Toronto, Ontario, as well as in Nova Scotia. Upon arriving at Pearson International Airport, Mulera had a happy reunion with her brother in Toronto. Her sisters, studying at Laurentian University and in Nova Scotia, have made the trek to visit Mulera during her first week in Canada and at Algoma U. This is the first time the Mulera siblings have had a reunion since they left their refugee camp. Mulera is eager to begin her life in Canada and have a chance to achieve her dreams.
“We are pleased to welcome Blandine to Algoma University and to Canada. It is important that Algoma University is able to offer assistance to refugees like Blandine and provide them with a safe and stable community living environment, quality education, and a bright future for themselves and their families,” said Algoma University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Craig Chamberlin. “We are even more pleased that we have been able to unite Blandine with her siblings.”
WUSC is a leading Canadian non-profit organization in international development, committed to building a more equitable and sustainable world. Through WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP), WUSC has been supporting recently graduated secondary school students living in refugee camps for over 35 years. Over 1,500 refugees have resettled in Canada, becoming Canadian citizens, and have attended Canadian post-secondary institutions. This is the only program of its kind in the world. Many SRP students have secured meaningful careers, bringing about positive change within governmental institutions and within the United Nations, while others have formed their own non-governmental organizations.
Algoma U has been supporting WUSC and the SRP program for over 10 years, allowing over 10 refugee students to earn a university degree who otherwise may not have had the opportunity. Algoma U’s WUSC SRP students have come from Syria, the Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Myanmar, among other countries. Mulera is the second WUSC student to arrive at Algoma U in 2016.
On campus, over 27 percent of the student body is comprised of international students. These students, coupled with the Algoma U WUSC Committee, will help Mulera adjust and transition to living in Canada, studying abroad, and attending university.
All WUSC SRP students must go through an intense screening process and meet specific academic regulations before being admitted into the SRP program.