This cause is close to my heart because I am a low-income student myself and have had my education paused multiple times due to financial barriers. I am championing this portfolio because low-income students across Canada have battled systemic barriers in accessing support, and with the ongoing pandemic, this has impacted their retention in schools as well as their wellbeing.
I encourage you to contribute to this Impact Portfolio because:
1. This portfolio is run by low-income students themselves, and so the lived experiences have guided the rationale of choice behind the charities listed here.
2. We are the first under-represented student group that is actively working on creating grassroot changes in B.C . Our work has gained a lot of momentum because of the its focus on empowering students and giving them the autonomy to direct the changes they want to see being actualized.
3. You can be 100% confident that all of the funds raised will go to the registered charities I know are making an impact. You'll receive an automatic update when & where I send the money raised.
When you give to this group, I will direct your donation to where it is needed most. The charities we have selected are below:
1. World United Services of Canada (WUSC) – Fosters youth-centered solutions to overcome inequality and exclusion of refugee students in Canada
2. Meal Exchange Canada – Driven by students, this group provides resources for students impacted by food insecurity across Canadian campuses
3. Yo Bro and Yo Girl – Empowers at-risk youth with tools to avoid violence and life on the streets
4. Pathway to Education Canada - Supports low-income students stay within schools, and bridges the financial, technological and environmental barriers to accessing education
Hi! My name is Zahra Fazal, I was born and raised in a small town in Tanzania and moved to Vancouver to pursue my undergraduate degree at UBC. As a first-generation and low-income student (FGLI) myself, I have committed myself towards destigmatizing the low-income student experience within institutions of higher learning.
In my second year of university, I founded the ‘First Generation Students Union’: the first student group at the University of British Columbia to champion advocacy for the inclusion of students who identify as either low-income or first-generation student scholars. I have worked with my team for the past year to raise awareness on issues that low-income students face such as food insecurity, mental health concerns, systemic pressures on their financial wellness and housing insecurity. These challenges are exacerbated during the pandemic, forcing many students to compromise their wellbeing to stay in school or keep their student jobs.
Over the past year, I have also directed a podcast that features different themes and their intersection with the identity of FGLI students. This podcast, The Torchbearers was funded by the Equity Enhancement Fund and is available on Spotify. Additionally, I have been funded to host the first-ever Canadian conference for FGLI students which will be hosted in February 2021. This conference will be the first-of-its-kind in the country since it will be solely planned by low-income students and target grass root changes to level the impacts of income inequality within the higher education system.
You can get in touch with myself or my team by emailing: [email protected] or visiting our website to learn more about our work: https://ubcfgsu.wixsite.com/home