Help Fund Refugee Education

Hi everyone! My name is Laya, I’m a 22-year-old Syria refugee in Canada about to pursue my studies at Columbia University in New York City at the School of International Public Affairs. I’ve created this Go Fund Me page to raise money for my first year’s tuition which totals to approximately $50,000.The full annual tuition is $63,000 but fortunately I have received a scholarship from Columbia for a partial amount.

The funds contributed here will go directly and only towards paying my tuition, not towards any other cost of living.

I settled in Canada as a refugee 4 years ago after fleeing the war in Syria and living in 5 different countries in 5 years. My family, much like many refugee families, continues to face numerous financial obstacles merely because of our refugee status and lack of access to resources.

These barriers have prevented me from seeking out private financial loans to fund my graduate studies. I have been in Canada for a short period of time and it is impossible for me to meet the standards that private lenders are asking for. Banks require a co-signer with a high income and a low debt-income ratio. As a refugee, this is an impossible ask. I do not know people within or outside my family who have these resources and are willing to support me. I have been rejected from numerous banks and lenders, deeming me ineligible to loan out a single dollar to finance my education.

My parents are doctors and engineers and the employment barriers in Canada continue to paralyze them in a system that revolves around financial efficacy. My dad worked as an Uber driver when he first moved here and he is now working at a telecom company after being a chemical engineer for over 30 years. Meanwhile, my mom who’s an Orthodontist with 25+ of experience has been unable to get her accreditation in Canada due to the systemic barriers in the National Dental Examining Board of Canada.

Despite these barriers, I am determined to pursue my graduate studies and work in the development sector. I want to design sustainable programs and policies that will safeguard refugees and help break the systemic barriers we inherit. I want to support refugees to secure meaningful employment and economically empower my community. Just like members of my community, the only thing standing in my way is an opportunity to be seen and heard.

I need your financial help now more than ever. I’m incredibly grateful your support, every single dollar counts! If you’re unable to donate, please share this on social media and help spread the word.

Thank you!
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 8 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 8 hrs
  • Tyler & Mike Talbot 
    • $100 
    • 1 d
  • Sahel Zreik 
    • $50 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 4 d
See all

Fundraising team (2)

Laya Mesto 
Raised $4,935 from 32 donations
North York, ON
Sima Mosto 
Team member
Raised $380 from 4 donations
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