New bursary to fund opportunities for AU students
The 2019 Athabasca University Distinguished Alumni Award winner is giving back to AU with a new bursary for business students
A new scholarship at Athabasca University (AU) will support undergraduate business students who volunteer in their communities.
The Esmail and Safana Bharwani Faculty of Business Award is funded by the Esmail Safana Farzana Fayaz Bharwani Foundation. It will provide one student each year with $400 to support their studies.
Esmail Bharwani (Bachelor of Administration ’92), one of the charitable foundation’s founders, is also the AU 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. He said he wanted to fund a bursary because he knows first-hand that distance and online learning can come with their own unique challenges, but also their own unique rewards.
“I want students to know that I have been through that route and I understand how taxing that venture is, and wanted to offer my token of support to thank them for making the effort to improve their own future and that of their family members,” he said. “My hope is that sometime when they are ready, they will think of helping others.”
Bharwani’s own path to his education and career success began in Tanzania where he began training as an accountant. He was not able to pursue education with the vigour he wanted because of family responsibilities, but he was able to learn bookkeeping from his father and advance in his career. He was eventually able to save up enough money to attend an accounting designation program in the United Kingdom, but then nearly had to drop out because of financial hardships.
His instructor was able to get him a job doing bookkeeping work, and that opportunity allowed him to finish his education. With the foundation, he is able to give other learners at several post-secondary institutions—now including AU—the same kind of opportunity he was given.
“What he did for me was a very small favour to him, but he had an impact on my life throughout,” he said. “This is my way of saying thank you for what I’ve got, and what I’ve been gifted. Basically, this is a way of saying, I owe you. I owe back to the community. I owe back to the people.”
The deadline to apply for the Esmail and Safana Bharwani Faculty of Business Award is Oct. 15, 2022.
“I want students to know that I have been through that route and I understand how taxing that venture is, and wanted to offer my token support to thank them for making the effort to improve their own future and that of their family members.”– Esmail Bharwani, 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner who provided an endowment for a new bursary
There are a variety of funding sources for AU awards and bursaries, many of which are supported by AU community members through charitable donations.
“Athabasca University is committed to removing barriers that prevent learners from accessing and succeeding in post-secondary programs. The many student awards we have available, including the ones with quickly approaching deadlines, have helped many of our learners transform their lives,” said Angela Kuzyk, interim registrar and chair of the Student Awards Committee.
For more information about student awards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More awards and bursaries are available through the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association and the Athabasca University Students’ Union.