Black students win TD scholarships

By Dami Adeniyi 

Aug 27, 2019  

The TD Scholarships for Community Leadership are awarded to 20 students across Canada in their last year of high school or CEGEP and provides recipients with up to $70,000 each for college or university (up to $10,000 for tuition per year, $7,500 a year for living expenses) for four years.

5 students of African descent that made the list: Abdimalik Ali, Keneisha Charles, Risann Wright, Jennifer Wani, and Hamdi Ali. 

Abdimalik Ali
Gordon Bell High School Winnipeg, MB

After Abdimalik’s difficult, solo journey to Canada from crisis-ravaged Somalia, he was amazed by the welcome strangers offered him. He vowed to return their kindness by helping others and becoming a role model for immigrant youth. In addition to tutoring new Canadian children at the Peaceful Village Program, Abdimalik joined his school Youth in Philanthropy club, which raises funds to help youth and families access basic necessities. He felt gratified to see kids enjoy carefree play when he volunteered at the Wolseley School Picnic, something that would be impossible in his Somalian homeland. Abdimalik plans to study pre-medicine at the University of Winnipeg.

Keneisha Charles
Rutland Senior Secondary School Kelowna, BC

After finding her calling in humanitarianism, Keneisha immersed herself in her school Diversity Club to provide a safe space for all students, regardless of their ability, culture, gender identity, religion or sexuality. Keneisha also joined Rotary’s Interact service club, reaching the role of President, and planned outreach for many causes including the Take Two initiative. Through this waste reduction program, students created a recycling workspace in a repurposed shipping container to divert their school’s plastic waste into new items. She also plays lead alto saxophone with a local jazz band. Keneisha aims to study social work.

Risann Wright
Pickering High School Ajax, ON

Risann bridged the divides between marginalized communities and society by identifying and addressing their barriers to success. She developed a high school mentorship program, A Targeted Vision, to help racialized students, particularly black males, access role models and mentors. The program is being expanded to other schools. She led Breaking Barriers, a school social justice club, and founded PHS Students for Equity, to promote diverse youth groups. She was Prime Minister of Student Government and served as a Durham District School Board Student Trustee to represent students among policy-makers. Risann plans to study politics and economics.

Jennifer Wani
Luther College, Regina, SK

As a child born to South Sudanese refugees, Jennifer dedicated herself to raising awareness of injustices around the world. She founded a Social Advocacy Club to promote gender equality and children’s rights and led a #WOKEWEEK campaign to shed light on the plight of Canada’s Indigenous people. She co-founded South Sudanese Youth of Canada to support and mentor other first-generation youth and planned Multicultural Nights at her school to celebrate cultural diversity. In addition to serving as an International Student Guide, Jennifer was Senior Manager of her school basketball program. Jennifer plans to study business and become an entrepreneur or human rights lawyer.

Hamdi Ali
Edmonton Islamic Academy Edmonton, AB

Hamdi chose to make her community a better place, driven by her experiences in overcoming adversity. After helping boost the self-esteem of a girl she tutored at the Somali-Canadian Cultural Society, Hamdi decided to start a Social Justice Club and co-found a Community Leaders Club to engage students in good causes. To improve mental health awareness in her faith community, Hamdi worked with her school to form a Peer Support Group so students can de-stress and talk freely. Hamdi was Student Council President, participated in the Science Olympics and served on her school rugby team. Hamdi wants to study health sciences or political science at the University of Alberta.


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