Scholarship marks new beginning for Ezidi refugee

Published 24 May 2019

Ezidi refugee Anwar Sulaiman Qasim Hakrash is closer to his dream of earning a degree in Physics thanks to a $4,000 English Language scholarship from the University of New England, and the gift of a Mac computer.

The scholarship, exclusive to Ezidi refugees, is an initiative of Pro-Vice Chancellor External Relations, Professor Mingan Choct. Prof. Choct is also supporting the Armidale Ezidi community through the donation of refurbished computers.

“Anwar is the second recipient of an English Language Scholarship, which was established to help the refugees improve their English language skills through our English Language Centre (ELC),” Prof. Choct said.

“It was my pleasure to present Anwar with the scholarship and a Mac to help him achieve his goals. Like others in the Ezidi community, he and his family has been through a very difficult time and are working hard to establish a future for themselves in Armidale.”

Anwar’s village in northern Iraq was attacked by ISIS four years ago. Following the attack, his father was pronounced missing and the family had to flee to a refugee camp, which became their new home.

While in the camp, Anwar, despite the difficult conditions, graduated high school and enrolled in a physics degree at the University of Zakho, Iraq.

He completed his first year successfully before he, his mother and two of his siblings were relocated to Australia six months ago. The move further split the traumatised family as four of his siblings were relocated to Germany.

The scholarship, alongside the donation of the refurbished Mac computer, offers Anwar a second chance at completing his Physics degree.

“I am very thankful for the scholarship and the computer. Once I understand English better, I will enrol with UNE to finish my degree,” Anwar said.

Anwar, who enjoys playing soccer in his free time, is also working as a volunteer to further improve his English skills.

The Ezidis are indigenous to northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey and have been severely impacted by the war with ISIS. Many have been resettled in Australia, Germany and Canada.

To date, Prof. Choct has handed over 40 refurbished computers to Ezidi families. More is scheduled to be handed over in the coming months.

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