'She deserves the same quality of education that I am receiving': Student starts GoFundMe to pay for his sister’s tuition

A student launched a GoFundMe to raise money for his refugee sister’s education this week.

On January 18, fourth-year Azuz Al-Rubaye started a GoFundMe page to raise tuition money for his younger sister Atika’s final year of medical school at the University of Alexandria. Despite working multiple part-time jobs, Al-Rubaye said that he can no longer financially support his sister’s tuition and his family’s living expenses back in Egypt.

He started the page in hopes that friends and family could contribute in ways that he and his family are unable to.

“If they want to work, they have to work illegally … If they get caught, they could face deportation,” Al-Rubaye explained.

Egypt signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, allowing refugees to have employment rights. However, they must provide proof that no Egyptian is more qualified for the same job, which has resulted in the vast majority of refugees and foreigners only being able to access jobs in the informal economy.

Al-Rubaye grew up in Iraq. After the beginning of the Iraq War, his family moved from Jordan to Syria and eventually to Egypt. For 13 years of his life, he was a refugee. In 2017, Al-Rubaye received sponsorship to study at a high school in Victoria, BC. His hard work as a high school student resulted in a full scholarship to UBC, allowing him to study while working a part-time job to support his family back in Egypt.

“She deserves the same quality of education that I am receiving right now,” Al-Rubaye said.

After the first few days of the GoFundMe, Al-Rubaye has raised approximately $2,400 out of his $30,000 goal, with all of the proceeds going directly to pay for his sister’s tuition.

“She is a very intelligent person. She studies the hardest,” Al-Rubaye said. Atika is passionate about medicine and hopes to become a gynaecologist to help women in need of medical care, he explained.

Al-Rubaye hopes the UBC community can come together to support his sister. “I know that they are students, they probably don’t have much money, but if everyone just donated a little bit, we would be able to reach our goal,” Al-Rubaye said.

“We’re getting a lot of support and hope that the support continues.”