I am Gorad Muhumed and I was born and raised in Ogaden Region, Ethiopia. In 2008, civil war forced my family (and many others) to seek refuge in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.
My parents could not afford to flee but wanted to save me and I eventually made it to Kenya. I lost many close relatives.
I was accepted as a refugee student and completed primary school in 2011. Based on academic merit, I was awarded a scholarship to Lenana School, where refugees typically have no access.
In 2015, I graduated high school in Nairobi and returned to the Dadaab camps to volunteer as a tutor. I also volunteered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Canada (UNHCR) as an interpreter and was employed by Windle International Kenya (WIK). I try to mentor students as a role model of what can be accomplished with education. I volunteered with Kenya Equity in Education (KEEP) that offers remedial classes to girls so that they can rise to the levels of their male peers, who are given more opportunity based on their gender. We give the girls a chance to qualify for World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and greatly improve their opportunities for higher education!
On September 20, 2018, I gained a place at the University of Guelph to study International Development Studies via WUSC. I am deeply grateful for this golden opportunity to pursue my dreams.
In my second year, I volunteered at WUSC Guelph and became the Finance Chair to help support new refugee students. Everything I do for these students gives me pride and gratitude because they have walked the same path as me.
The Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarship is helping me change the biases that harm girl child education, particularly for girl refugees. My work with KEEP proves that girls only need equal opportunity to prove that they have equal abilities – I focus on removing the bias that unfairly limits their opportunities.
I continue to help the next WUSC sponsored refugee students so that they can overcome culture challenges and begin to climatize to Canada before they begin their semester.
The Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarship has also helped me return to Kenya to continue mentoring and educating fellow refugee students. I appreciate the power given to me to improve life for people who all deserve access to opportunity.