YKDFN students gets backpacks and school supplies courtesy of Muslim community organizations

Fariha Khan (centre-left) is a physician and board member of Islamic Relief Canada. The organization donated more than 100 backpacks and school supplies to Yellowknives Dene First Nation. She's pictured here with her children, Ndilo Chief Ernest Betsina (left), Dettah Chief Edward Sangris (centre-right) and Islamic Centre of Yellowknife Chair Nazim Awan (right). (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

At least 100 Ndilo and Dettah students will be sporting new backpacks this coming school year. The bags are a donation from Islamic Relief Canada and the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife.

Fariha Khan is an Ontario physician temporarily working in Yellowknife. She also sits on the board of Islamic Relief Canada. She said the organization doesn’t often have the opportunity to reach out to communities like Ndilo and Dettah.

Khan added they wanted to focus on education because they wanted more than a “band-aid solution.”

“We know that education is really what lifts people out of poverty and out of difficult situations,” she said.

The backpacks will also be filled with supplies from pencils to protractors and scientific calculators. Khan said the donation amounts to about $8,000.

Ndilo Chief Ernest Betsina said YKDFN will be working with the schools in Ndilo and Dettah to determine which students will benefit most from new supplies. He added that the donation was a great start to working more with the Islamic Centre.

Nazim Awan is the chairperson of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife. He noted that the education level for many Indigenous communities is lower than the rest of Canada, often including immigrants. He said the Muslim community felt the responsibility to help out.

Awan also acknowledged this was a first step. The goal for now, he said, was to get students motivated with new supplies so they can focus on their studies.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.