Canada Should Encourage Rwandan Genocide Survivors to Pursue Post-Secondary Education

Moses Gashirabake, Montreal Gazette, April 6, 2015

Canada’s parliamentary subcommittee on international human rights is presently exploring long-term effects on survivors and children born of rape after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As a lucky survivor of that genocide, I am deeply appreciative of my new country’s efforts. Canada, however, can do more.

This year, April 7 marks 21 years since the start of the atrocious genocide that cost 1 million Rwandans their lives and left behind countless wounded survivors. Today, some of those survivors, like me, call Canada home. Those survivors of the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda face varying degrees of social, economic and psychological challenges.

Chief among those challenges relate to socio-economic opportunities–more specifically, access to post-secondary education. Regardless of the fact that a meagre percentage of Rwandans in Canada have attained incredible successes in academia or business, and some are still healing from the effects of 1994, many remain boxed out of key areas of Canada’s social and economic life.

The most affected are young people under 30. They often opt for low- and medium-paying jobs instead of pursuing a university degree or other long-term investments. As special groups’ funding for post-secondary education was significantly cut by Canada in 2008 (and some provinces in years that followed), available bursaries and scholarships opportunities are scarce today. Genocide survivors and other special groups remain underfunded.

According to the last Canadian Council on Learning report, Canada indeed has very high participation rates in post-secondary education. Over 50 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed a post-secondary program of education, compared to an average of slightly above 30 per cent among all OECD countries. These are impressive numbers.

Post-secondary participation, nonetheless, still remains low among some demographic groups in Canada. Students from low-income families with little or no history of higher education participation in their family, refugees, survivors of genocides, those with disabilities and Aboriginal students still face challenges that I have directly witnessed over the past seven years.

The problem of low post-secondary participation is even more complicated for new young Canadians and permanent residents who fall in the ‘‘genocide survivor’’ category. Despite substantive constitutional guarantees, former refugees and genocide survivors are alarmingly under-represented in Canada’s post-secondary institutions.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees equality among all Canadians. In particular, section 15 (2) of the Charter affirms Canada’s commitment to the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged groups due to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Even though education is a provincial matter, the federal government can step in through targeted scholarship funding opportunities for very disadvantaged groups.

The discontinued $2.5 billion Millennium Scholarships were an excellent example of a federal program that substantially funded post-secondary education across Canada. The scholarship program which targeted over 100,000 financially disadvantaged Canadians was unfortunately not renewed by the Harper government after its 10-year mandate expired in 2008.

The current Canada Students Grant Program is not only limited in funding but is also not fundamentally targeted to disadvantaged groups. The program also lacks national coverage. Why not bring back the glory of the former Millennium Scholarships?

As a young Canadian who has benefited from scarcely available merit-based scholarship opportunities, I believe my country can do more to encourage members of disadvantaged groups in attaining higher education. Special funding through scholarships and bursaries specifically targeting deserving survivors of genocide alongside other disadvantaged Canadians will ease access struggles by these groups. That, in turn, will ensure Canada enjoys an equitable socio-economic future.

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  • superlloyd

    ‘Canada, however, can do more.’ The greedy, grasping gibs mentality of the useless African parasite in all its’ shamelessness. Why don’t you go back to where you came from and help your own people instead of leeching off others, Moses? Your dysfunction, whining and drain on resources are not wanted in civilisation. You should be grateful and humble that a human country has shown pity on your pathetic feebleness.

    • Oil Can Harry

      “Canada, however can do more” is the perfect encapsulation of the black mindset.

      No matter how many favors you do them or freebies you hand them they will always demand more. Total leeches.

      • Samuel Hathaway

        As a good friend of mine told me once, “you can give blacks everything, give them every cent from your paycheck, your 401K, your IRA, your checking acct., your savings acct, your CDs, every bit of food from the fridge the freezer and the pantry, every stitch of clothing you’ve ever owned and…. they’re still going to be ungrateful and they’re still going to be demanding more. More and more whites like my friend and you… are seeing reality for what it is.

    • Unperson

      The whole article could be summarized very simply: Gibsmedat, eh.

  • This year, April 7 marks 21 years since the start of the atrocious genocide that cost 1 million Rwandans their lives and left behind countless wounded survivors.

    Which was based on a tribal conflict. Alluding to the fact that diversity is a strength. (?)

  • Ron Cheaters

    So many white Canadians with university degrees are out flipping-burgers. If you’re as smart as you think you are. Get the funds yourself – I had to, and I’m not complaining.

  • David Ashton

    Postal courses are available.

    • IstvanIN

      Draw the turtle on the back of the matchbook kind?

    • Alden

      They cost money as well and da gobbamm should pay for it and arrange a $90,000 a year do nothing job to start the day after graduation

    • Unperson

      As in, he could mail himself back to Rwanda?

      If so, I volunteer to lick the stamps.

  • Reynardine

    I think of gibsmedat like a sport anymore *as read in the voice of Howard Cosell” :

    “Gashirabake has control of the gibsmedat… look at that little monkey go… he’s using the ‘poor survivors of genocide move’ patented by the Blue Jews back in the 70’s… and another ANOTHER epic gibsmedat goal by the Rwandan Team!”

  • guest

    “As a lucky survivor of that genocide, I am deeply appreciative of my new country’s efforts. Canada, however, can do more.”

    Doesn’t Canada have enough of its own problems without having to be so concerned for these ungrateful “refugees” who only want to live off of free handouts and then have the audacity to complain because the Canadians aren’t doing more than just throwing their own lives away to appease and kowtow to them?

  • guest

    This commentary is relevant to a current Freedom of Information Act Request Appeal within the Department of Justice. IF the covert research trip surrounding the fatal plane wreck that killed Rick Heber and his somewhat close associate, Mary Alice Slater , was involved in research regarding the indigenous populations of Central Africa, then international laws and conventions take precedence over FOIA exemptions that appear (most likely) to have thus far been used (?) to conceal what research was taking place (see Congressional Record-Senate for Dec. 11, 1987 re inset memorials to Mary Slater ). Elements of the Nuremberg tribunals, the Helsinki accords and subsequent accumulated human standards make it untenable via FOIA exclusions to hide whether research on humans took place; and if so, whether it had prior independent scrutiny and approval and some degree of informed consent by those subjected to it. The DoJ is eager to turn on all lights regarding Ferguson, Missouri policing. But Eric “Fergie” Holder seems to prefer the “Memory Hole” regarding this (and additional ) FOIA requests. Stay tuned.

  • Cecil Henry

    Get out of my country and out of my wallet you parasite.

    Back to your country and build it as you want.


    • listenupbub

      Perfect comment. We need more comments on other sites like this one.

  • InAFreeCountry

    They took these refugees in, but that wasn’t enough. Canada can do more, indeed. Like deport you back to where you came from, you ungrateful beggar wretch.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      How about sweeping the streets of Montreal, or something, paid fairly, with no taxes taken out…and you’re on your own. No social services. And no voting rights. That might be a fair arrangement.

      • Unperson

        Your list could also use a strict 11pm – 7am curfew.

        • Alden

          8pm in summer 5pm in summer would lower the crime rate even more

  • BlueSonicStreak

    These people, along with Southeast Asians and Arabs, built my city’s only ghetto.

    It’s nothing like ghettos in the U.S., mind – white people can still walk through the area safely, if they walk confidently and don’t do anything to attract trouble to themselves like wear something obviously expensive – but it’s a mess compared to the rest of the city, and the name of the neighbourhood is notorious (especially for drugs). A friend of mine grew up in that area, and was a hardcore coke addict by the time he was out of high school. That’s twenty years on…wait until they have real numbers and it’s a few generations more.

    Zero sympathy.

  • Alden

    I want affirmative action

    • Samuel Hathaway

      We want it for you, too, Alden…. especially since you’re not going to make the cut without it.

  • Light from the East

    What about Rwanda Should Encourage Rwandan Genocide Survivors to Pursue Post-Secondary Education?

  • archer

    So, in other words unless you give them everything you are a racist, it will never stop, they will be a permanent mill stone around our necks.

  • listenupbub

    “Equality” is the magic word that turns “envy” into a virtue.

  • Unperson

    ‘‘As special groups’ funding for post-secondary education was significantly cut by Canada in 2008 (and some provinces in years that followed), available bursaries and scholarships
    opportunities are scarce today. Genocide survivors and other special groups remain underfunded.‘‘

    I suppose actually working and saving up to go to school, is out of the question? Too much effort, is it?

    Me, I worked my way through college as a waiter in a fancy bistro-and-bar that served the local swells and stayed open late. For four years I had a full-time course-load and part-time job. It was a demanding schedule, to be sure, and I definitely didn’t get to party as much as most students. But it’s totally doable if a young person is intelligent, competent, motivated and energetic. Which, apparently, these ’’refugees’’ from Rwanda are not.

    Personally, I would have thought being a ’’genocide survivor’’ was its own reward. It means you were one of the lucky ones who missed getting genocided. Like, that’’s not enough?

  • Basketeddie

    Jews somehow managed to overcome these issues. Wonder what is different about the Rwandans?

  • ……

  • guest

    There has been very little sexual mating between the Batwa pygmies and neighboring indigenous peoples. Even arm’s length distant social contact with them is generally abhorred. The mental inability to accommodate to rural and village life outside of their native rainforests, has been stark (and little noticed in Western media ).

  • guest

    For whatever it’s worth–the CIA by late 1987 had (quite properly ) a very large presence in Rwanda and Zaire. Rwanda was coming apart at the seams–from both a collapse of coffee prices and from mounting organized efforts toward subverting the government. There was hardly a village of any size that did not have a CIA “contact” within it. If next of kin could find out little, it wasn’t from Embassy ignorance. And just what was TTU in Amarillo/Lubbock able to find out?