In honour of my intelligent, beautiful, sassy Amma (mother in Tamil) and her upcoming birthday (July 8th), I am delighted to present the Geetha Thambinathan Teaching Scholarship for the second year in a row.


Inspired by my mother’s short-lasting yet influential career, I created this independent scholarship last year. For those who don’t know, my mother, Mrs. Geetha Thambinathan, was a teacher back in Sri Lanka. She was a proud primary school teacher who taught Math, English, and Science - English being her favourite subject to teach. However, a series of events led her to flee to Canada full of hope, love for my father, and an eager eye for the future. Consequently, her teaching career was forced to a halt. She lost a core part of her identity and her life has never been the same since. 


Of course, the teacher in her never disappeared. When I was a child, my mother routinely woke me up at an early hour to complete worksheets she had created. She dedicated all her time and energy to my brother and I, leading me to even gain a rare double promotion in elementary school. I skipped Grade 2, yet the credit belongs solely to my mother. My mother’s love for education and her strong belief that every child has the right to learn is what drove me to create this scholarship. 


The Geetha Thambinathan Teaching Scholarship is open to first-generation and second-generation immigrants. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a first-generation or second-generation refugee

  • Must be a postsecondary student who attended a Canadian university/college during the 2018-2019 year

    • Can be either undergraduate or graduate school

  • Must be an aspiring teacher/educator


This scholarship represents more than its apparent monetary value. This scholarship symbolizes my mother’s (unfortunately not-so-unique) immigrant/refugee struggle - the struggle of finding value in her overseas credentials, the struggle of rediscovering her professional identity in the midst of overwhelming change, and the struggle of sacrificing her priorities in order for her precious children to achieve the 'Canadian Dream'. To aspiring teachers and educators who believe in the power of education and recognize the epitome of all that this scholarship stands for, please apply.


The deadline to apply is August 1st, 2019. My mother and I will read all applications and come to a decision. Please reach out to geethateachingscholarship@gmail.com for any inquiries.


None of this could have been possible without my brother and father, whose constant hard work allows me to lead a life of privilege. A heartwarming thank-you goes out to them. 


Happy birthday Amma, I love you.

- Vivetha Thambinathan

©2019 by Geetha Thambinathan Teaching Scholarship. 

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