Roya’s Story—Revisited

Roya gives us a big, hearty “thank you”!


Dear Readers,

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with brave Roya, the Afghan girl whose dream of going to school meant losing her father and fighting for her life back home. With the help of donations from many a generous Canadian, she came to our country in January of 2012 to pursue an education at Ottawa’s Ashbury College. Almost two years later, our young heroine is still going strong! Watch the video above to learn more about her journey—or read on for our original feature piece about this courageous young woman.

Since her arrival in Canada, Ingle International has provided Roya with the international student health insurance she needs, which we paid for in full. When we sat down with Roya, we were pleased to learn that our coverage has brought her some peace of mind while she concentrates on her studies!

Want to help Roya in her fight for the right to education? Donate here.

-The Ingle Team


Roya’s Story—How One Small Girl with Big Dreams Touched Ingle Staff in a Big Way

Originally published on 2012/06/01

Many Canadians might remember the story of the young Afghan girl whose dream to go to school, and eventually join the world of politics, put her life at risk every day. Fighting for a girl’s right to education in a country where women’s rights barely exist could have easily gotten her killed. Sadly, Roya’s father was unable to escape the fate of someone fighting for “dangerous” ideals in such a dangerous place. But young Roya, she survived.

When I first read about Roya, I was amazed at the determination and resiliency of a young girl in such a difficult situation. I was disheartened to hear about her father’s death, but hopeful that she would survive and continue to fight for women’s rights in her country.

Roya’s story certainly touched me; but it also touched the hearts of Canadians, new immigrants, and international students from coast to coast. And partly because of their encouragement and support, she is now in Canada, enjoying the safety and freedom of a world-class education.


But how did it all begin? Who was there to help along the way?

  • The Toronto Star’s Paul Watson was the first to be moved to action. He started by making Roya’s story known, writing about her plight until she became a familiar name in many households; and soon his writing turned into a very real fight to get her to Canada.
  • Ashbury College was next. The headmaster was inspired by Roya’s story, and agreed to provide her the opportunity to enjoy a safe and tuition-free education in Canada’s capital city.
  • Next is where I come in. I read about Roya and shared her story with my colleague, Monica Aguirre, head of the International Student Department at Ingle International. CEO Robin Ingle and VP Brian Cox were soon to join the discussion, and agreed to provide her with the health insurance and health care services she would need for the duration of her stay – paid in full by our company.

It makes sense that Ingle would join the ever-growing group of people eager to help. At Ingle International, we understand how it feels to adapt to life in a new country. Ingle staff members are no strangers to life abroad – We’ve studied abroad, worked abroad, and a whole lot of us were even born abroad! We speak 27 different languages combined, and we have an appreciation for cross-cultural communication and the idea of international community. Because we understand first-hand the challenges that accompany a new life overseas, we hoped we could help make Roya’s new life in Canada just a little bit easier – by providing her with the peace of mind that comes with the health coverage she needs.

Recently, Roya’s story was featured in the paper again. I was happy to read that she had celebrated her two-month anniversary in Canada, and even happier to learn that more and more Canadians have stepped up to help. The Roya Fund has raised over $25,000 to date, and schoolchildren across the country are fundraising and donating what they can. In a country as vast as Canada, a community of like-minded people are gathering to take care of young Roya, in the absence of family or friends, in a country not her own.

Roya was brave to come to Canada and smart to worry about the cost of her health. Travel health insurance for international students studying in Canada is not a luxury, but a necessity. International students require coverage for a wide range of events – from sport-related injuries to travel outside of Canada to mental health issues to prescription drugs – and most cannot afford life in Canada without it. Although Canada is known around the world for our universal health care, our health care system doesn’t apply to non-Canadians. This means international students and visitors to Canada need to prepare for the cost of staying healthy while living abroad – from routine check-ups to unexpected medical emergencies. In Canada, a doctor’s visit can cost up to $300, and one night at the hospital can be as much as $5,000. At the risk of stating the obvious, the costs can add up. Quickly. Avoiding astronomical medical fees is as simple as purchasing the right travel health insurance before leaving home.

But still, it’s not cheap. One year of coverage can cost up to $1,000 for an international student. In Roya’s case, Ingle has taken on the cost of covering her for her first term at Ashbury College (January to June). We plan to renew her coverage when she starts school again in September 2012.

Roya, let Ingle worry about your health! We’ll leave you to worry about the important things – like fighting for a girl’s right to education in your home country.


For more information on travel tips and travel insurance, visit the Ingle International blog page.


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