TELUS Student Bursary recipient, Nebiyou, having a conversation with a youth he mentors.


Meet Nebiyou, a TELUS Student Bursary recipient whose past is helping change the future

Jan 14, 2024

Growing up, Nebiyou experienced the unimaginable. Born in Ethiopia, his family moved to Yemen when he was seven years old. Not long after relocating, the civil war began.

“I experienced horrors that no child should endure,” reflects Nebiyou. “My house and school were bombed and we lost family and friends, including my best friend at the time. The trauma remains deeply ingrained in me.”

Nebiyou’s family managed to escape the war and immigrate to Canada. Upon arrival, they lived in a shelter for seven months. Once they secured an apartment, Nebiyou and his siblings worked multiple jobs to help contribute toward their family’s day-to-day necessities.

Throughout high school, the trauma Nebiyou experienced as a child was eating him up inside. He knew that he needed to work on his own mental health. As he got older, he realized that he couldn’t do anything about his past, but he can change the future. That’s when he started devoting his time to giving back.

“I started volunteering in grade 10 with homeless related causes. Since then I have organized events alongside the Public Service Alliance of Canada, volunteered with initiatives such as Peace by Peace, the Black Student Association and the Black Legal Action Center,” said Nebiyou. “I also started Brothers 4 Brothers, a mentorship program focused on youth mental health for males in my community, which has helped me and others deal with our emotions.” 

Nebiyou is now pursuing a double major in criminology and business at York University in Toronto. He is a faculty director, campus commissioner and the Vice President of the Criminology Society. His ultimate goal is to become a lawyer and advocate for social justice. 

“When I first received the news that I got the TELUS Student Bursary, I was very excited. It took me a week just to process everything. This Bursary gives me financial relief as I no longer need to work multiple jobs to help pay for my education.” 

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