2021-2022 Awards

February 2022 TCF Awards for Students

2022 Taiga Galli Memorial Refugee Award

Bushra Wakaa won this year’s Taiga Galli Refugee Award, valued at $3,000.  Bushra was born in Syria in 1999.  When the war started, she and her family fled to Lebanon, where they became refugees.  There, her life changed completely, as she felt like an outcast and was forced to do manual labour.  This life continued for six years, during which time she always thought she would be able to return to Syria.  When she realized that returning to Syria was no longer possible, she began to search for a safe country, and was accepted as a refugee to Canada.  When she arrived, she was pregnant with her daughter, who was born just a few months later.  In the meantime, Bushra studied in the LINC program and reached Level 3. Now she is raising her daughter and looking after her parents while she is studying to better her situation.  She dreams of using her education towards a career in dentistry.  In her own words, “There is an old phrase that I like very much. It says that even if you are uneducated, you can work all day and night, but it will not benefit your society like the work of an educated person for an hour.”

2022 TCF Refugee Award

Hajer Al Mohamad won this year’s TCF Refugee Award, valued at $3,000.  Hajer was born in Syria in 2004.  She was just seven years old when war broke out in Syria, and after two exceedingly difficult years, she and the rest of her family were able to follow her father to Lebanon.  There, the family experienced unsafe and unsanitary living conditions.  After a few years in these conditions, Hajer and her family were accepted to Canada as refugees, and she finally felt safe and free.  Since coming to Canada, she has been working and studying at the same time, contributing to her family financially while bettering herself.  She plans to enter Vancouver Island University’s Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program in order to assist front-line health workers while also increasing representation of minorities in allied health care fields.  In her own words, “I believe that part of helping Canada live up to its multi-cultural identity is making sure that there is accurate representation of the diversity we have in all career fields so there is proper care of individuals.”

2022 Nicolas Collins Founders Refugee Award

Havi Mohammad, the winner of this year’s Nicholas Collins Founders Refugee Award, valued at $3,000, was born in Syria in 2004.  She was only seven when the war broke out in Syria.  Facing desperation, Havi’s family decided to make the difficult overland journey to Iraq, where they faced more uncertainty.  They lived as refugees in a seemingly hopeless situation in Iraq for two years, during which Havi was unable to work or attend school.  A family member finally arranged for them to flee to the safety of Canada.  Havi’s experiences in the war in Syria and the refugee camp in Iraq have made her want to give back by helping children.  For this reason, she hopes to have a career in pediatric medicine.  In her own words, “I would be able to make positive impacts in people’s lives, and improving the lives of patients would also boost my confidence in the work I’m putting effort in.”

David Lam/BC TEAL English Language Learner Scholarship

Dijana Janjetovic, who won this year’s David Lam/BC TEAL English Language Scholarship, valued at $3,000, was born in Serbia in 2004.  As a 13-year-old newcomer to Canada, she was under pressure to excel in school, keeping a brave face while also enduring the social hardships faced by her whole family.  In order to keep herself centred, she escaped into the world of books.  At the same time, she observed both the strengths and the shortcomings of the medical system in Canada, particularly through her volunteer work and as vice-president of her school’s mental health club. Her goal is to become a biomedical engineer.  In her own words, “The future is unpredictable, yet we can soften any subsequent, deadly blows by investing in the technology and people that maintain society’s well-being.”

2022 TCF Refugee Award for Ongoing Study

Ahmad Daadaa, the winner of the 2022 TCF Refugee Award for Ongoing Study, valued at $3000, was born in Syria in 1993.  He is currently studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Victoria, and he says he is “passionate about designing and creating technical solutions that will help making the world a better place.”  He also hopes to collaborate with others to create solutions for today’s world.  Eventually, he hopes to parlay his education and experience into the entrepreneurial sphere, starting a business with others to “have a positive impact on society”.

November 2021 TCF Awards for Educators

2021 TCF Health Education Awards

Dr. William Tsai, of the Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program, will use his $4000 award to help fund a project bringing HIV/AIDS awareness to newcomer populations via informational sessions at shelters, settlement agencies, AIDS service organizations, and LGBT agencies.  These sessions will include safe sex practices, stigmatization, immigration policies, and disclosure issues, among other topics.

Victoria Surtees and her team at the University of the Fraser Valley will use their $4000 award to develop instructional materials to be used as a bridge to certification in First Aid for job-seeking immigrants.  These will involve interactive activities to be offered online as well as those that can be used by teachers in the classroom.  This arose out of a need identified by immigrant support providers in the Fraser Valley.  The instructional materials will be aligned with the CLB curriculum.

Natalie Anderson, with Impact North Shore (formerly the North Shore Multicultural Society), will use her $4000 award to make mental health in transition more relevant and accessible via online interactive H5P activities based on the LINC curriculum, in response to demand on Tutela and other platforms.

2021 Project Funding Award

The BC TEAL Conference Committee was awarded the 2021 Project Funding Award, valued at $2,500.  The award was used to support the 2022 BC TEAL Conference which provides professional development for the EAL practitioners across BC and Canada. This annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for EAL practitioners to share their knowledge, learn from each other and build their professional networks.

2021 Nan Poliakoff Memorial Award

The 2021 Nan Poliakoff Memorial Award, valued at $1,000, was awarded to Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan, a doctoral student at UBC. He used the award to attend the 2022 TESOL International Conference in Pittsburgh. As a delegate, Shahid was able to present his paper on assessment, exchange ideas and learn more about his field of study at the conference.