Reem Saleh | Alumni | University of Guelph

Reem Saleh

Aiza Asif

Reem Saleh 

I grew up as a minority in a richly diverse Toronto neighbourhood of first-generation immigrants and refugees. I lived with, was raised by, and learned from people who escaped oppression, dictatorships, natural disasters, restricted access to food, and other catastrophic conditions.

This upbringing honed a passion to participate in humanitarian initiatives with an aim to uplift and relieve individuals affected by calamity – in fact, it is a personal imperative in my life.

I am working to accomplish my goals without adding financial burden on my mother and siblings. My mother is a single, disabled, unemployed guardian of four dependent children. I work extra shifts during the school year at the U of G Fitness Centre, I work every summer, maximize my OSAP grants and loans, pursue scholarships and travel-bursary opportunities, and use my tax returns to help support my education as well as my humanitarian travels.

My humanitarian journey began in high school, where I participated in Key Club, an organization dedicated to service and leadership. I became an executive in the International Relief Foundation (IRF), where my peers and I researched and donated to grassroots organizations supporting populations in some of the world’s greatest conflict and tragedy, such as Darfur, Sudan, and the Rohingya people of Myanmar. I was also a youth advisor in my community of Flemingdon Park, and a fundraiser for Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) which advocates for children who exist in dangerous conditions.

I am secretary and treasurer of the Guelph Black Student Association (GBSA) at the University of Guelph and have helped to aid in the humanitarian and political catastrophes in Haiti. I fundraise every year for Habitat for Humanity, I volunteer with the Lang School to plant trees, and I volunteer with U of G Project Serve, to help the Guelph Food Bank.

Your Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarship is an immeasurable gift that will help me attain my objectives and propel me into positions to enrich my humanitarian contributions on a larger scale! This Scholarship is also deeply meaningful to my family – my mother wishes she could support me, but she is already overwhelmed with responsibilities and your generosity alleviates so much of her personal and financial burden.

After my Winter 2023 semester, I will travel to St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago in a University of Guelph exchange program for a semester at the West Indies Bilateral Exchange, St. Augustine campus. I intend to volunteer, explore, and support local humanitarian causes during my studies.

My travel/study schedule is daunting, but the support, compassion, and validation offered to me through the Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarship is making an enormous difference. I am truly delighted with this opportunity to help people – thank you so much for believing in me!

Reem Saleh 


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