JRS Jordan: A New Opportunity for Elaf, Across the Ocean

04 March 2022

A woman standing against a wall with a JRS logo on the building, staring at the camera with her arms crossed.
Elaf, 23 years old, a refugee from Iraq living in Amman, poses for a portrait in front of JRS Pathfinder Education and Community Center. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin/JRS

Elaf’s smile lights up with the sun rays peeking out through the branches of the olive tree in front of JRS community center. She visited many times JRS centers, to take part to English classes, activities and courses. Her family fled from Iraq, and she grew up in Jordan as a refugee. Soon she will leave the country, embarking for a new chapter of her life.

As many others Iraqi refugees, she struggled to find opportunities to continue her studies in Jordan. She tells us that it was hard to find a scholarship as an Iraqi refugee in Jordan, and to sustain the costs of higher education such as the tuition fees for universities.

“I took so many activities at JRS, including English courses, and recently I attended a women empowerment workshop. It helped me so much, it improved my English, my personality, and it also made me make new friends” she tells. “Also, JRS helped me to register to the WUSC sponsorship, and because of that, in August I will be resettled there, to Canada, to complete my higher education.”

Also, JRS helped me to register to the WUSC sponsorship, and because of that, in August I will be resettled there, to Canada, to complete my higher education.
Elaf, JRS Pathfinder participant

A woman standing outside smiling at the camera.WUSC scholarship is the dream of many young refugees in Jordan wishing to complete their studies. WUSC is a Canadian international development non-profit organization dedicated to improving education, employment and empowerment opportunities for youth, women and refugees. The Student Refugee Program founded by WUSC combines resettlement with opportunities for higher education. The program supports over 150 refugee students per year through active partnerships with over 100 Canadian universities, colleges, and campuses. Crucial to the program’s success is its unique youth-to-youth sponsorship model which empowers students in Canada to play an active role in the sponsorship of refugee students. The campus-based Local Committees raise funds and awareness for the program on their campus and in their community. They also play a critical role in offering day-to-day social and academic support to newly-arrived students.

What is Elaf hoping to find in Canada? “Through the WUSC sponsorship I hope I will find a better opportunity for higher education,  find a good career, and I hope one day I will be a role model in women’s rights, especially refugees” she says.

Elaf also has a wish for all the people like her and her family, who had to flee conflicts and violence in their homeland: “I wish for refugees that they can find peace, I wish their kids can have a good education. And I wish that women will have more confidence in themselves, I wish they find a good life, a good opportunity. And I wish peace… that is what we all wish for”.