Refugee from Afghanistan wins $100k scholarship in Canada after fleeing the Taliban

Banin Arjmand, a 20-year-old girl from Afghanistan who move to Canada in October 2021, has won the prestigious Loran Award worth more than $100,000, to attend a Canadian university for four years. Arjmand completed her high school in Saskatoon and supports herself and her family by working part-time.

CBC News wrote that Arjmand didn’t think she could afford university tuition, when her teacher encouraged her to apply for the Loran Award. After passing the initial test, she went to Toronto in February to participate in the selection interview with 90 other finalists.

Loran Foundation announced on Thursday that Arjmand won one of the 36 Loran Awards.

“At Loran, we believe that strong character and integrity are a better measure of a person’s long term potential than standard academic measures,” the foundation stated. “We know that such promising young people have the power to change the future for the better. They just need a Launchpad and opportunities to grow.”

According to CBC News, Banin can pursue her education at any Canadian university and establish her professional career, subject to successfully fulfilling the criteria. The scholarship program attracts nearly five thousand applications from students across Canada annually.

“For me, it was like a flashback of everything I’ve been through. It made me think of every detail of my life. I ended up crying,” Arjmand told CBC News.

Arjmand hopes to study international development or political science at either York University in Toronto or the University of Saskatchewan. 

“I’m so happy. It’s not just the money,” she said. “And it’s not just the name of it. It’s the new world I’m going to know after this, and the people I’m going to meet. I’m sure through this foundation, I’m going to know myself more, learn about myself more, and do better.”

Arjmand is a survivor of a suicide attack on a girls’ school in Afghanistan. While Arjmand is excited about her future, she worries about the women and girls who have been deprived of their right to education, work, and freedom under the oppressive Taliban regime.