New Brunswick

Libya funding reaches UNB students

A group of Libyan students at the University of New Brunswick will be able to attend courses for another year after funding finally came through from their home country.

A group of Libyan students at the University of New Brunswick will be able to attend courses for another year after funding finally came through from their home country.

The funding had been caught up in international trade sanctions and internal unrest in Libya, but the Libyan government released the money last week.

The scholarships pay for tuition, medical benefits and accommodation for 500 students across Canada, including a dozen at UNB. Along with Libyan students around the world, they were stranded in a foreign country with little money.

Many universities, including UNB, covered the students' costs in June.

'Filled with joy'

Taher El Shanta was one of those students. On Monday, he said getting the scholarship money came as a huge relief.

"I am filled with joy. My family was happy. You know, it's like a burden that has been on my our shoulders, all the Libyan shoulders, has been removed," he said.

The Canadian Bureau for International Education said Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Nations worked with the Libyan ministry of education for weeks to free up the funds.

"They were very supportive of us and they help us a lot in a very critical situation. We really, really, thank them for all they have done," El Shanta said.

With the scholarship money secured for the next year, the students can now focus on family and friends back  home.

The UNB students have set up a donation table in a Fredericton shopping centre to raise money for friends and families fleeing Libya.

He said many of the students' hometowns have been shelled in the civil war and raising money is their way of helping those still in Libya.