Scholarship honours memory of slain community advocate
BY CHRIS DOUCETTE, TORONTO SUN
FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 08:19 PM EDT | UPDATED:
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 08:27 PM EDT
TORONTO - Nahom Berhane believed education was key to unlocking dreams.
And prior to his violent death a year ago, he shared that message with the youth he mentored.
So the 34-year-old’s family says a scholarship in his name is an ideal way to honour their loved one.
“Investing in the future generation is something he was committed to and that’s why we decided a scholarship would continue his work and really honour him,” Berhane’s sister, Arsema, said Tuesday at the 519 Church Street Community Centre.
Surrounded by her family and her brother’s colleagues from Access Alliance, Arsema explained her brother was no doubt “smiling down on us and seeing that his life wasn’t taken in vain.”
Nahom, a University of Windsor graduate, was a community health promoter for Access Alliance working out of their office at Danforth and Victoria Park Aves.
The father of two was stabbed to death in an altercation on Danforth Ave., near Greenwood Ave., Sept. 27, 2014. Osama Abdulaziz Filli, 23, is charged with second-degree murder.
Arsema said her father, Tsehaie Berhane, drives a cab for Beck Taxi but was an educator before the family immigrated to Canada from Eritrea 25 years ago.
“The only thing our dad ever asked of us was that we pursue our education because it will open many doors,” she said, explaining her brother shared that message with those he mentored.
Arsema said her family also wanted to ensure Nahom’s passion for volunteering was a “big component” of the scholarship.
The Nahom Berhane Scholarship for Leadership and Inclusion will go to youth with “a proven track record of volunteerism, community service and leadership in the community,” said Axelle Janczur, executive director of Access Alliance.
She said the scholarship will help needy students pay for a post-secondary education.
“Nahom himself was very committed to education. He was inspired by his father and he encouraged youth to aspire to reach for their goals and their dreams,” Janczur said.
The scholarship aims to provide $4,000 to at least one recipient each year for the next decade, starting in 2016. But in order to fund the scholarship, donations are needed.
“Our goal is to raise $100,000 in the next 60 days,” said Louis-Michel Taillefer, of BMO Financial Group.
Access Alliance, BMO and Beck Taxi have already donated $21,000, he said, adding he’s confident the public, businesses and foundations will help with the rest.
Donations can be made at www.nahom.org
Received on Wed Sep 23 2015 - 11:26:37 EDT