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2016 Lilian To Bursary Winners

By: Alex Nikotina

Published On: September 23, 2016

Ashton College is pleased to announce the Lilian To bursary Winners for 2016. Four full-time bursaries are given out to four recent Canadian immigrants.

Canadian education is one of the key ways to help new immigrants successfully settle in Canada and pursue their dream jobs. Ashton College is proud to grant recent immigrants a chance for the full time tuition bursaries in memory of Lilian To, a crusader for immigrants and the longtime executive director and CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Lilian To bursaries, sponsored by the Canadian Immigrant Magazine, go to four people this year: Elena Todorova, Majid Sajady, Sophia Mata and Mahnoor Nadeem.

Elena Todorova

“I hope to gain practical knowledge and experience in accounting that I will use at my current job.”

Elena Lilian To winnerElena has finished a Masters Degree in International Economic Relations and Finance in Bulgaria. “I worked in banking and accounting back home,” shares Elena. “I really enjoyed my work there; but my circumstances brought me to Canada.

Having gotten a job as a bookkeeper in Canada, Elena realized that Canadian bookkeeping was different than back home. “I caught myself thinking that I didn’t always understand why some things were done the way they were,” shares Elena. “And I didn’t want to lose my job due to the lack of education.” Elena knew this meant going back to school and learn more about bookkeeping in Canada.

Elena read about the Lilian To bursary and decided to apply. When she heard that she was one of the winners, Elena was very excited. “I could not believe it was true! I am very grateful that I was chosen.”

Elena’s goal is to finish her Certificate in Bookkeeping by the end of this year.

“Everyone at Ashton College is very kind and supporting. I am very grateful for the bursary and the opportunity that was given to me.”

Majid Sajady

“I think it is important to make a contribution to your community and society; and I know that I will be able to achieve that by helping people with immigration.”

Majid Lilian To winnerMajid came to Canada two years ago with his family. “I wanted to provide more opportunities for my family by coming here,” shares Majid. “But I knew it will not be an easy journey.”

A graduate from the Faculty of Law and a Notary Public for almost 20 years in Iran, Majid had to start his career in Canada from scratch. “I knew I wanted to continue working in the field related to law,” says Majid. “But I wasn’t recognized as a Notary Public anymore.” Instead of going through a lengthy and expensive re-certification process, he decided to pursue a career in Immigration Consulting.

“Financial difficulties is a common experience for new immigrants, so I am honored and humbled to receive the Lilian To bursary. It has opened a new door of hope for me.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity and I will make sure that I make the best use of it.”

Sophia Mata

Sophia Lilian To winner“It is amazing that I was able to win the bursary and jumpstart my career in the HR field.”

A medical doctor in the Philippines, Sophia knew that coming to Canada meant a new page in her career. “I was working as a government physician and was training for pediatrics,” shares Sophia. “But we made the decision to immigrate to Canada because we knew that it would give a better future to our children.”

After a few years of work in Canada, Sophia thought about re-assessing her credentials, but after careful consideration decided against that. “Reassessment turned out to be a lengthy, expensive process,” shares Sophia. “So I decided to pursue a new career in HR, and applied for the Lilian To bursary.”

My husband was a Lilian To bursary winner in 2014, and he now has his own immigration practice. I am excited to learn more about HR and support our family business.”

Mahnoor Nadeem

“Education plays an essential role in the life of a person. I am eager to pursue more education in Canada to succeed in my career.”

Mahnoor Nadeem will be pursuing the Diploma in International Business next year. “My mother’s efforts in making her kids’ lives better brought us to Canada. I want to prove to myself and her that all her hard work paid off.”


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