Raihanna R.


2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: McGill University
Program: Political Science, World Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Every night before I fall asleep, the same brutal images of my father being shot come to mind. In May 2020, my father was an untargeted victim of a homicide, only ten minutes away from my school. The traumatic and unexpected way he passed with a lack of community and mental support due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the financial burden his passing has caused, has wreaked havoc on my family's life.

After my father passed away, my family lost our source of income. My mother and I lost our jobs since we worked for my father's company, which closed immediately after his passing. Due to our lack of income, we could no longer afford our home and had to move to a new city. Since my mother's car was caught in the shooting, we also had to bear the expenses of buying a new car, which was increasingly difficult after the bank locked all of our accounts. Had my father had life insurance coverage, moving, buying a new home and car, as well as day-to-day living expenses, would be significantly easier to cover.

Nothing can bring my father back, but access to a few months of stability after his passing and therapy would have made our lives uncomplicated. With life insurance, this would be a reality. However, this is not the case. Despite a lack of support, I continue to support my community through my initiatives as the founder and president of my school's virtual French Club and the McMaster Youth Advisory Council. Between my various extracurricular activities and now having to pay for my education, which my parents planned on doing for me, I am constantly overwhelmed. As the eldest child, I have had to take on more responsibilities now to ensure tasks around the house are done and ensure everyone in my household feels heard and supported.

While doing all this and maintaining honour roll status, I had to start tutoring younger students and apply to as many scholarships as possible to pay for my education.

My father did not receive an education and always pushed for my brother and me to receive at least our undergraduate degree.

After completing my undergraduate in Political Science and World Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at McGill University, I plan to obtain a law degree and eventually work in International Development and Human Rights law. My education and experiences will allow me to confidently support people in similar situations and have the power to prevent what I have gone through from happening to others.

I am recovering from a time where the whole world feels like it is against me. With his passing, I have lost my biggest supporter, stability, home and access to our savings. This scholarship will enable me to get back onto the path I have worked so hard to create and receive the education I need to prevent others from going through the same pain.

Other Recipients