Group raises awareness with a mock refugee camp on U of S campus

A mock refugee camp at the University of Saskatchewan was set up to show a glimpse of what some people are facing around the world. Brent McGillivray / Global News

SASKATOON – A mock camp at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) was set up to show a glimpse of what refugees face around the world. For three days, the mock camp was on display in the North Concourse of Place Riel.

Anybody could walk by and take a look at the simulation which ended Friday.

“What we have is three different tents set up and we have posters, talking about different issues refugees might face,” said Anna Tsui, co-chair of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) chapter at U of S.

“So access to education, sanitation and also we have some information about refugee resettlement and what it’s like to go from a camp or a place of conflict and resettle somewhere like Canada.”

READ MORE: ‘Canada saved 7 people’s lives:’ Saskatoon home to Syrian refugees

Organizers said they were there to raise awareness and to engage the student body in an interactive way to engage the public and hopefully get them involved.

Story continues below advertisement

“To raise awareness and let people know that refugee crises are going around all over and not just in one place in the world and that a lot of long-standing issues … and students at the U of S can also get involved and help by sponsoring students,” said Tsui.

WUSC U of S’ primary focus is the Student Refugee Program (SRP), which sponsors refugee students to relocate to Canada and attend university.

The local chapter of the WUSC says three refugee students are sponsored annually so they can study at the U of S. According to Tsui, all undergraduate U of S students pay a $4-levy in their student fees to sponsor refugee students.

“It covers where they’re going to live, their accommodations, food, clothing, textbooks, all the stuff they need to live for their first year so they don’t have to come to Canada and loans right away, that they have a little money and support for when they first come to Canada,” said Tsui.

WUSC participants are directly involved in the program, even picking up newcomers at the airport and helping to set them up their classes.

“It is definitely a culture shock to come to Canada but they, right away, are able to jump into Canadian society and how the education system works and they’re all very dedicated to their classes and so after a year of being here they’re really grateful for the opportunity and really optimistic usually for their future,” said Tsui.

Story continues below advertisement

All U of S students are welcome to volunteer and participate in WUSC which has weekly meetings in the ISSAC Centre.

The U of S chapter of WUSC is one of over 50 non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to delivering and promoting education internationally.

 Meaghan Craig contributed to this story

Sponsored content