Iftiin Graduation and Scholarship Program is an annual tradition that celebrates the educational excellence of Somali-Canadian youth who graduate from high schools in Edmonton. This is our 10th anniversary. Due to community celebration the graduation rate has steadily been increasing. Close to 200 Somali Canadian students graduate from high schools throughout Edmonton.
Our great strengths are the partnerships we forge between students, staff, parents and the wider
community. These partnerships enable us to build on the strengths of tradition and performance and to
live out our values and our commitment to the provision of supporting marginalized students.
We are delighted to be able to share our community with you and make you a part of the community
Friday July 5th, 2019
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Approximately 500 students, parents, teachers, distinguished guests, local and sponsors.
The collapse of central government of Somalia in 1991 and the civil war that erupted has caused many Somalis to disperse throughout the world in hopes of escaping the war. The first casualty of the government collapse was the education institution and large numbers of Somali people ended in refugee camps in neighbouring countries
Canada has one of the largest Somali populations in the Western world. Unofficial estimates place the figures as high as 150,000 and Close to 20,000 make Edmonton their home. The Somali-Canadian Community comprises the largest subgroup of African descent in Edmonton. The
Community has been growing significantly in Alberta during the past decade due to the ongoing civil war in Somalia. In the past 10 years (2002-2011), the number of people landing in Edmonton from Somalia has increased by 1,938%. In addition, Edmonton is ranked 2nd in terms of municipalities with the largest Somali Canadian population next to Toronto.
Whether they are born in Canada or immigrated at a young age, a number of Somali Canadian youth are experiencing difficulty integrating into mainstream Canadian society. This has resulted in dozens of homicides within Alberta in a short period of time. Close to 70 youths have died due to gang related violence. In addition, a significant number of these youth show signs of vulnerability, from poor academic performance to gang affiliation, which often leads to increasing involvement in crimes and negative behavior. It has also been reported through the media that a number of them are being recruited by international terrorist organizations such as Al-shabaab.
While some refugee students excel and thrive in their new host country, others experience great difficulty with adjusting into a new school system. Academic difficulties may be a result of language barriers, disrupted schooling, distress from forced migration, or financial difficulties where parents have to work multiple jobs to make a living and cover their family’s expenses.
Academic frustration is among these challenges. Some youth in the school system have severe academic gaps as many of these students are refugees who have resettled in the Edmonton area with their families after escaping the dangers of war and conflict in Somalia. They spent their formative years either without school if they were in refugee camps, or in schools that lack basic resources within refugee camps. Others attended school, but English is still a challenge for them. When they came to Canada, they were placed in schools based on their age, not their academic level which created, for them, a hurdle to come over.
In order to overcome the educational gaps, we have created educational mentoring programs in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry to have their students volunteer and help out Somali students with their academics. This partnership has been very successful and has helped many students graduate from high school and pursue higher education.
Academic Achievement Celebration:
Iftiin Graduation and Scholarship provides young- students of marginalized backgrounds with a $500 scholarship to assist with their higher education and build a better future for themselves and their families.
Many Somali students have experienced violent conflict, loss of home and country and the interruption of their education.