By Brier Cook
They say once you choose hope, anything is possible. Two local volunteer associations have partnered with Carleton to do just this – deliver hope to female refugee students.
The HOPE Scholarship for Refugee Women was established this year by the Heads of Mission Spouses Association (HOMSA) and the Canadian Federation of University Women-Ottawa (CFUW-Ottawa) in partnership with Carleton University.
The award was created in direct response to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It will directly help women who have fled unrest in their home country to pursue studies at Carleton University.
HOMSA and CFUW-Ottawa have generously provided a donation of $25,000 to establish this award with Carleton providing a 1:1 match. The resulting $50,000 endowment will support in perpetuity generations of refugees to pursue their education.
HOMSA brings together spouses of ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Canada to make a positive impact in the communities in which they reside. CFUW-Ottawa is dedicated to women’s and girls’ education and rights and provides opportunities for members to socialize, educate, and advocate.
HOMSA President Sarah Harvey said that HOMSA’s partnership with CFUW-Ottawa was formed organically.
Harvey became a member of CFUW-Ottawa during the early days of her husband’s tenure as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Canada.
By the time Mrs. Harvey became President of HOMSA, she was thinking about how the organization could contribute to Ottawa. She realized that she would need to join forces with a partnering organization to make an impact and that her community at CFUW-Ottawa would be able to help.
“As a group of women, we wanted to leave a legacy,” said Mrs. Harvey. “As HOMSA members, we’re here for maybe three or four years before leaving and returning to our home countries.”
Mrs. Harvey explained that the group had previously gathered supplies for refugees, but was looking for a way to proactively address larger issues for women refugees in the city.
“You can give somebody a coat and you can give a woman diapers for her children, but how can you help her integrate into the community?” said Mrs. Harvey. “That’s why we started thinking about the endowment and partnership… to do something that would last.”
Having already established 17 awards for student aid at Carleton, Scholarship Trust Fund Chair at CFUW-Ottawa Patricia Duffey knew that reaching out to the University was the natural next step. She explained that CUFW-Ottawa’s longstanding partnership with Carleton made it “a perfect fit”.
HOMSA and CFUW-Ottawa approached Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon in early 2022 to propose the creation of the award.
“Carleton is very proud to partner with HOMSA and CFUW-Ottawa and to provide matching funds to create the HOPE Scholarship,” says President Bacon. “Over time, this important initiative will provide access to higher education and to a successful and self-determined life for a great number of deserving women in need.”
The HOPE Scholarship for Refugee Women will be awarded annually on the recommendation of the Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs and Student Life to outstanding undergraduate students enrolled in any program of study.
“Our members are committed to supporting and encouraging women to pursue higher education so we just really appreciate the partnership with both HOMSA and Carleton,” said Duffey.
To learn more and apply for the HOPE Scholarship for Refugee Women, please visit the Student Experience Office website.
Human Computer Interaction Building
1125 Colonel By Drive