Abdulrahman moved to Canada just before starting high school. War had struck his home country of Syria, and his family set out to build a new life in Canada. “When you have to leave a country, everything stays behind. You only get to keep your knowledge. That was really on my mind.”
That’s why Abdulrahman focused on education to build a better future. For that, he turned to Pathways in Grade 8. “It’s difficult to fit in when you don’t understand the language,” Abdulrahman explains. “Pathways really helped. I did my English homework during tutoring sessions, and I could practice speaking during social activities.”
Over time, language became less of a barrier. That allowed Abdulrahman to focus on other priorities, like volunteering. Eventually, he grew into a leader—Abdulrahman founded a gaming club for youth entering high school, and a youth group in his community. With the help of a few friends, he even developed a website to help newcomers arriving in Canada. The online resource offers a number of practical tips, like where to find community services or food from one’s home country.
“I know what it’s like to get somewhere and not know anyone,” Abdulrahman reflects. “When I got to Pathways, the staff pointed me to resources or showed me ways to connect with people. The community projects I started are similar. They’re a way to help people create relationships, feel included and connected.”
Meanwhile, Abdulrahman was working on another big project: finishing high school. Seeing his determination, Pathways staff encouraged him to apply for prestigious scholarships. “Pathways tells you about scholarships early on, so you can plan ahead” Abdulrahman explains. “Staff helped me write application essays, get reference letters, and gave me advice along the way.”
Pathways staff knew how much of a difference Abdulrahman was making in the community. As the scholarship cycle progressed and he kept getting invited to more finalist interviews, it became clear that others had noticed his hard work, too. Abdulrahman was announced as the winner of two major scholarships, including one valued at $70,000. Today, he is studying Computer Science at UBC with the support of this scholarship, and the Pathways scholarship he earned by participating in the program. “It was a complete shock to learn that I had won,” Abdulrahman recalls. “It felt like somehow, all the hardships I’ve been through, and the motivation that it gave me to help my community, really mattered.”
Pathways alumni are making a positive impact in their communities every day.
Join our mailing list to keep up with their work.