University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Photo of a young woman writing a test in school
Photo by Corbis

U of T Supports Syrian Refugees

The university will create 100 bursaries for students at risk due to war

The U of T community sprang into action this fall to assist Syrian refugees, with a commitment to create 100 bursaries worth $10,000 each. The bursary program for students at risk is part of Massey College’s Scholars at Risk initiative. While initially focusing on Syrian students, the program will eventually broaden to include other refugees who have had their education disrupted by conflict or war. U of T is committing up to $500,000 to match donations of any size, with the goal of raising $1 million for these 100 bursaries.

More than 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced from their homes, while another four million have fled the country since the outbreak of armed conflict in 2011. U of T students have been helping those affected by the tragedy by fundraising and donating clothes: the U of T Refugee Alliance, for example, held a used-clothing drive to help refugees at the Dar Al Fatwa camp in Lebanon prepare for winter. On Nov. 13, the undergraduate and graduate student unions of the department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilization held a seminar, in collaboration with the Syria Solidarity Collective, on various aspects of the crisis.

U of T is also involved in the Lifeline Syria Challenge, spearheaded by Ryerson University. U of T, York University and OCAD University have partnered with Ryerson to sponsor 75 refugee families for up to a year. Vinitha Gengatharan, U of T’s liaison for the Lifeline Syria Challenge, came to Canada from Sri Lanka with her family 30 years ago, during the civil war. “I know what it is like to settle and start over in a new country, and I have a deep appreciation and gratitude to those who helped and supported my success. I see this initiative as one of the ways to ‘pay it forward’ to others.”

To make a donation, visit or

Recent Posts

Photo of front campus field and Convocation Hall with flower emoji illustrations floating above

Clearing the Air

U of T wants to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2050. It’s enlisting on-campus ingenuity for help

Abstract illustration showing a red-coloured body and face, with small black and white pieces flowing from inside body out of the mouth, and the U.S. Capitol Building dangling on puppet strings from one hand

The Extremism Machine

Online disinformation poses a danger to society. Researchers at U of T’s Citizen Lab are tracking it – and trying to figure out how to stop it

Prof. Mark V. Campbell with a beige background and red lighting

Charting Hip Hop’s Course

Professor Mark V. Campbell grew up during the early years of rap music. Now, he is helping preserve Canadian hip-hop culture for future generations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *