Learning outside the classroom

How the community’s giving spirit shaped Ibrahim Rfifi, a 2022 Ted Rogers Scholarship recipient. Rfifi shares how he one day hopes to be a positive example for those in his community.

Scholarship winner Ibrahim Rfifi

Scholarship winner Ibrahim Rfifi

In 2022, Rogers Communications awarded Ted Rogers Scholarships to 350 students across the country for their exemplary community leadership and volunteerism, as well as financial need. The renewable scholarships offer $2,500 for up to four years, helping to make education more affordable.'

As a community partner, TCHC was proud to nominate 15 deserving recipients from our communities. One of those recipients is Ibrahim Rfifi. Ibrahim currently lives in Scarborough, but grew up in Regent Park and moved out in 2020 due to the revitalization program.

“When people think of Regent Park, they think of crime, poverty, homelessness, mental health, revitalization,” said Ibrahim. “My experience growing up in Regent Park is something I’ll never forget.”

At the age of 12, during the month of Ramadan, Ibrahim asked his father if he could help assemble meals at sunset for people to break their fast at his local mosque. This was his very first volunteer experience – and the most memorable.

“I hope to one day be an example for younger people in my community just as the people who strived to make my community a better place were to me.”

— Ibrahim Rfifi

Photo of scholarship winner Ibrahim Rfifi and his father standing outside by Lake Ontario

Scholarship winner Ibrahim Rfifi and his father

“For a month, I would arrive at the mosque three hours before sunset and worked hard with everyone to prepare meals in time for sunset,” remembered Ibrahim.

“When sunset finally came, we gave out the food to the community. Whether they were Muslims or not, the joy and gratefulness expressed by the people receiving this food was something I will never forget.”

Ibrahim specifically recalls the diversity, and the community spirit of giving back.

“Ever since I was young, I would always observe that older people in my community were doing difficult tasks in order to support the community,” said Ibrahim. “This includes my father, whom I look up to as a community leader, who has organized many events with TCHC, my local school, the local mosque and the Toronto Police Service. They really set the example for the children growing up – including me. I wanted to contribute as well.”

“I hope to one day be an example for younger people in my community just as the people who strived to make my community a better place were to me,” said Ibrahim.

The education and development of community is close to his heart. Today, Ibrahim volunteers as a computer lab instructor at the Yonge Street Mission for the Regent Park community. He plans to continue to invest his time and effort by volunteering as a tutor for Pathways to Education in Regent Park. It is an organization that helps students to get their high school diplomas by providing financial, academic, and mental health support.

Ibrahim is currently studying mechanical engineering at York University. A naturally curious person, he’s passionate about problem solving and leveraging engineering to help people.

“I want to help make current prosthetic limbs more accessible to people in need by making them more affordable in production through mechanical design,” said Ibrahim. “Access to medical technology such as prosthetic limbs is a privilege, especially in developing countries. This vision I have of designing prosthetic limbs to be more globally accessible will help millions of people worldwide.”

“I want to help make current prosthetic limbs more accessible to people in need.”

Through its partnership with Rogers, TCHC is able to support young leaders like Ibrahim to reach their full potential.

“Tuition for engineering is hefty so every dollar helps,” stated Ibrahim. “If this scholarship did not assist me with my tuition I would not be able to attend university in turn making my goal of becoming a mechanical engineer just a dream. I’m extremely grateful for this scholarship.”

TCHC remains committed to helping youth reach their full potential, as well as to removing financial barriers to education and achieving their dreams. Learn more about the Ted Rogers Scholarships by visiting about.rogers.com.