A $25,000 award is helping a Royal Roads University alumni make a global impact.
Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. The award was developed by RRU and the Victoria Foundation, funded through a donation of the estate of Rachel and Ernest Fox.
“The Foxes were life-long learners who wanted to encourage others to experience higher education,” said RRU in a press release.
Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which will help people in areas of the Middle East following traumatic events or crisis such as civil unrest, war and natural disasters.
“I feel incredibly privileged to receive the award, and I was shocked to be the recipient. I have received amazing support from Royal Roads,” said Oldman. “It effectively paid for half of my master’s degree tuition, and I am over the moon that I can now utilize those funds to set up a charity to do humanitarian work in the Middle East.”
International Humanitarian Assessments will aim to gather independent assessments from vulnerable communities who are experiencing physical, social or psycho-social hardship following disaster or crisis, and then provide data, research, and reports “to inform evidence-based interventions and policy change by local and external actors and decision-makers.”
“The most important part for me is not re-traumatizing anyone through the interview process,” said Oldman, who is from Australia and works in mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry. “We want to ensure we can do no harm while collecting the data, by supporting the mental health and well being of vulnerable individuals above all.”
Oldman’s goals moving forward are to change the conversations on mental health, and to improve accessibility to critical resources for people who are struggling, both locally and globally.
“In travelling so extensively, I’ve discovered that we are more the same than we are different, and I want to be a part of a more global world,” said Oldman. “I want to play whatever part I can in bringing people together. And I want the legacy of my life to be leaving this world a little better than I found it.”
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