The Board and Staff of Connections Community Services Society would like to introduce to you a remarkable young woman. Soraya was in Foster Care and beat the odds, getting a degree from UBC and then being accepted into Medical School! Now she needs our help to afford the tuition. We will match up to $5000 in donations…will you help? Here is Soraya’s story:
At the age of 10, I immigrated from Kuwait to Vancouver, Canada with my family, in search for safety and security. Without knowing a single person, my parents tried to create a life for their two children filled with opportunities they never had. However, it was riddled with complexities and barriers. Both my parents' education and credentials were devalued and unrecognized. They struggled to find work to cover our basic living expenses. My brother and I soon found ourselves in a single-parent household, with a mother who worked night shifts just to be able to make it home in time to take her children to school. At the age of 13, the Ministry of Children and Family Development got involved. Thereafter, my brother and I were separated for what would become almost 4 years.
I was the lucky one. I found a safe haven at school, and at 16-years old, began living alone under the Ministry's Youth Agreement program. I graduated from high school on the honour roll and got accepted into a world-renowned academic institution, the University of British Columbia. I worked tirelessly during my undergraduate to ensure this opportunity wasn't taken for granted. As soon as it was possible, I started looking after my younger brother so we wouldn’t be separated any more. Together, we have been able to beat the odds; 45% of youth in government care drop out of high school and only 3% of youth in government care complete a post-secondary education.
My desire to become a medical doctor began when the child welfare system just began getting involved in my life. You can imagine after these traumatic events, it would be hard to feel safe and cared for, let alone amongst strangers. Yet, there was a sense of security at the doctor's office. It was how my family doctor treated me, with dignity and compassion, in addition to creating a safe space for me to feel the emotions of the traumatic experience, that inspired me to become a medical doctor.
Through the process of caring for my brother, working, attending school, writing the MCAT and applying to medical schools, I have found that our systems fail to recognize the privileges I lack that others are afforded: a family support system, access to mental health support, food security, housing security, and more. I have written the MCAT in both 2018 and 2019 and considerable cost on a very meager income and have not been able to secure an interview at a Canadian institution. Then I learned about the incredible medical education system in Australia and how synonymous it is to the Canadian system. I applied to Griffith University and the University of Queensland in June 2020 and was accepted to both medical schools! I accepted my offer to Griffith University with a partial scholarship, the Academic Merit Scholarship, which brought my annual tuition fees from $70,725 to $56,580. Of course, I immediately applied to secure grants and student loans only to learn that I required a family member co-signer with a salary greater than $100,000. My joy at being accepted to medical school has been severely dampened by my enormous financial challenges and has been clouded with overwhelming worry. Thank you for reading my story and helping me find a way to medical school!
Please join Connections and support Soraya’s dream!