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2005 Scholarship Winners

Yves Brunet of Ottawa, Ontario, is winner of the Alan H. Neville Memorial Scholarship. The 46-year-old eastern Ontarian was formally trained in the field of Business Administration and worked for the federal government until 1995. After living with HIV for seven years, in 2002 he lost most of his vision following complications and treatment for CMV retinitis after his disease progressed into AIDS. Yves is working on a Master's program in Counselling at Ottawa University and wants to use his experience to help other people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, or who experience significant loss of vision from other diseases.

Abebe Abay Teklu of Victoria, British Columbia, is winner of the T-Base Communications funded Business, Education and Technology Scholarship. Originally from Ethiopia, Abebe became blind from exposure to smallpox at the age of nine. He attended a school for the blind in northern Ethiopia, earned a teaching diploma from Addis University, and began to teach. His involvement in the movement for freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and opposition to the military government, however, landed him in prison for a year. When he was finally released through the efforts of Amnesty International, he decided to move to Canada. Though his journey was dangerous, he helped organize a school for the blind in Khartoum, Sudan, along the way. Unable to find work in Canada due to negative attitudes about blindness, Abebe returned to university where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Master's degree in Policy and Practice. Still unable to find employment, he changed his career goals and is currently a University of Victoria PhD student in the Faculty of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Abebe is a husband and father of two.

Quyen Le of Hamilton, Ontario, is the winner of the AEBC National Achievement Scholarship. A fourth year McMaster University psychology student, Quyen is working towards her goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. She lost her sight at the age of two and arrived in Canada as a refugee from Vietnam when she was 14. Learning English and attending a residential school for the blind in Canada were at first a challenge for her, but Quyen soon flourished in math, music and science. Now that she's at university, Quyen is actively involved in volunteer work and research projects to prepare her for graduate school. To her friends, Quyen is affectionately known as a "gadget girl" since she really enjoys using the many different kinds of technology to assist with her studies and independent living.

"It was extremely hard to pick winners from among the over 30 eligible applicants," says Awards Committee Chair, Marcia Cummings, who is based in Toronto. "All applicants had an average grade of 75 percent or higher and all were involved in community service. The Awards Committee members wish they had more awards at their disposal--there were so many great candidates this year."

Congratulations to all!

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