We are pleased to announce the incoming young leaders for the 2024-25 Pathy Foundation Fellowship at Coady Institute.  

The 12-month Fellowship provides community-focused experiential learning opportunities for graduating students ofCarleton University, Bishop’s University, McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Ottawa andSt. Francis Xavier University. Applicants submit a self-designed initiative proposal to work with a community with which they have a connection, to foster sustainable positive social change in Canada and around the world. The Pathy Family Foundation supports each Fellow with funding of up to $40,000. 

The seven incoming Fellows will attend skill-building sessions and planning workshops at Coady Institute before commencing the ten-month community phase. Fellows will work with community partners to implement a broad diversity of projects, supporting at-risk youth through play-based drop-out prevention and career services in Nador, Morocco, to enhancing equitable access to haircare for Black youth in Ottawa, Ontario, to creating culturally sensitive spaces for addiction support in Edmonton, Alberta, and more.

Lil Borger (McGill University) 

Building Relationships Between Students and Unhoused Individuals; Milton-Park, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 

Lil’s connection to Milton-Park spans the course of the past three years, throughout which they have been a resident, student, volunteer, and employee within the community. For the past year, they have been working with the organization Comm-Un to create cohabitation activities that support the unhoused community via harm reduction, art creation, and storytelling. 

This year, Lil aims to improve the relationship between university students and the unhoused community in Milton-Park. These two groups live in the same neighborhood and cross paths multiple times a day, yet for the most part have limited positive connections or interactions. Lil’s initiative will work to develop these positive relationships by educating students through workshops and volunteering, and organizing community events that nurture developing relationships alongside food, music, art, and more.   

Sabrina Bouwmans (University of Ottawa) 

Sober Sports Ottawa; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 

Sabrina’s initiative aims to provide accessible recreational sports to individuals dealing with problematic substance use (PSU) to improve community well-being and improve quality of life. Her goal is to foster an understanding and respect for individuals struggling with PSU while challenging stereotypes and stigmatization.  

Sabrina’s connection to this community revolves around a shared commitment to harm reduction and empathy and includes coworkers from her field placements, classmates in criminology, and friends affected by addiction. She is passionate about implementing accessible recreational activities as a means of contributing to broader goals of social justice and harm reduction. 

Ravia Dhaliwal (Carleton University) 

Centering Punjabi Grandmothers in Community Addictions Education and Support; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 

“As a second-generation immigrant from Punjab (India), my initiative is tied to the community that raised me and aided me to complete my academic work in rich and diverse ways,” says Ravia. Over the course of her undergraduate and master’s degrees, she has undertaken research in addiction and the Punjabi diaspora community. Having seen the struggles her community faces with regards to addiction support; she knows that this issue is of high importance. 

Ravia’s initiative seeks to create a culturally sensitive space for intergenerational support and empowerment, addressing the mental health and addiction support needs of aging Punjabi women in Canada. She will be collaborating with Sahelian to introduce a program for elderly Punjabi women and their families, focusing on addiction support and education. 

Chama Laassassy (McGill University) 

ⵉⵙⵡⵉ | ISWI : Purpose for at-risk youth; Nador, Morocco | الناظور, المغرب  

Chama’s initiative aims to reignite purpose for at-risk youth. The approach taken by this initiative is three-fold: a play-based after-school dropout prevention program, a career-hub for out-of-school under-25 youth, and a podcast. Importantly, ⵉⵙⵡⵉ | ISWI will be led entirely by former dropouts. 

Chama is Moroccan and has spent the past three summers in Nador. In the summer of 2021, she met a 10-year-old boy named Marwan. He was determined to drop out of school, as his siblings had before him. This encounter was the origin story of an improvised summer pilot program where Chama used play-based learning for youth at-risk of school abandonment. Through many discussions and brainstorming sessions with community members, this pilot grew into the idea for ⵉⵙⵡⵉ | ISWI. 

Shona Moreau (McGill University) 

Law for All: Empowering Refugees Through Legal Aid Access; Johannesburg, South Africa 

Born in Johannesburg and having worked with refugee groups through legal clinics and community initiatives, Shona has gained firsthand insight into the numerous barriers refugees face in accessing rights and vital services. Professionals and clients alike have emphasized the need for community-oriented legal and administrative support, and Shona looks forward to building upon previous collaborations with community partners to better address these unmet needs. 

Shona’s initiative aims to empower asylum seekers and refugees to navigate the legal system within the security of their communities. Through a mobile clinic and workshops, the initiative provides efficient legal support by handling the initial stages of legal cases, allowing clients to focus on complex matters. Additionally, the initiative includes collective legal resource sharing, equipping community members with knowledge and skills to handle simple cases locally and reduce travel expenses. 

Chidera Onyegbule (Carleton University) 

Links to Locs; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 

Chidera’s initiative aims to address racial disparities in haircare by offering Black youth in Ottawa equitable hair services for today, training for tomorrow, and improved access, always. She plans to work with Black haircare providers in Ottawa to establish pop-up salons offering accessible and affordable haircare and supplies, partner with Ottawa’s Black hair training programs to offer free training for youth on caring for natural Black hair textures, and to create an online hub for access to resources and information about Black haircare.  

As a young Black woman living in Ottawa, Chidera is a member of this community and feels understood and supported within it. She shares in her community’s lived and living experiences of racial disparities in haircare. As a young adult, Chidera has more experience in overcoming these disparities, but she has observed the ongoing struggles that younger Black youth continue to face, and she looks forward to contributing to change in this community. 

Damai Siallagan (Queen’s University) 

Proyek; Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia 

Damai’s initiative aims to work with local entrepreneurs in tourism to develop capacity in navigating new digital technologies and cyber spaces. This initiative will focus on the latent potential of social media, SEO, and AI for local economic resilience. By ameliorating disparities in access and knowledge surrounding digital resources, Damai hopes to foster self-sufficient livelihoods resilient to the expansion of corporate tourism firms in the region.  

Damai’s connection to the Toba Batak people of North Sumatra, Indonesia is longstanding. His father emigrated from the community soon after Damai was born, but his family and clan remain deeply embedded in the broader community. Damai proudly claims membership of the Siallagan clan and his Toba Batak ancestral roots. 

To learn more about the Fellowship and incoming cohort visit pathyfellowship.com or follow Pathy Foundation Fellowship on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.