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Christchurch victim memorial veterinary scholarship

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18 April 2019

Leading New Zealand veterinary company VetNZ has pledged $10,000 toward the establishment of a memorial scholarship for prospective students at Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science.

The scholarship is named in honour of one of the victims of the Christchurch Attacks.

Hamza Mustafa, 16, and his father, Khaled Alhaj Mustafa, were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in the Christchurch Attacks. Hamza was an aspiring veterinarian and talented horse rider, and his father Khaled was a valued farrier in the Christchurch community.

Khaled, his wife and their three children, including Hamza, came to live in New Zealand, having been Syrian refugees in Jordan previously.

Donations are being sought for what will be the Hamza Mustafa Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to one or more Massey University veterinary science students, to honour Hamza’s ambition to work in the veterinary industry.

VetNZ, which represents Vet Clinic Morrinsville, West Coast Vets and VetSouth, has a long-standing relationship with Massey University and decided from the outset it would both contribute $10,000 and underwrite the target amount of $30,000.

In order for a memorial scholarship to be established, at least $30,000 is required. The Givealittle page set up for the scholarship fund gives others in the veterinary industry and beyond the opportunity to donate to what will be Hamza’s legacy.

Director Mark Bryan said VetNZ would love to see other vet businesses support the cause.

“If the whole industry can come together as one to honour Hamza’s memory, then I think that would be a great achievement and would mean so much to his family.”

Like most rural and veterinarian businesses, VetNZ only worked because the company was made up of so many wonderful people, including those who had come from different countries, Bryan said.

“Inclusivity is a big part of VetNZ’s culture – we’re a stronger team and a stronger industry for it,” he said.

“Hamza dreamed of being a vet, so if we can do something positive on the back of a wholly negative situation, then I can’t think of a better way than helping others to achieve their veterinary dreams through Hamza’s legacy.”

Massey University School of Veterinary Science representatives Kate Hill and Eloise Jillings said the idea for the scholarship came about from a collective conversation among the veterinary community to find ways to offer support to the victims of the Christchurch Attacks.

The scholarship is being developed in conjunction with Hamza’s mother, Salwa, to ensure it is reflective of her son’s memory and is meaningful for the Mustafa family.

“Salwa was very touched when the scholarship was discussed with her, and grateful for the opportunity of an enduring scholarship in Hamza’s name,” Hill said.

So far $24,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund, which includes the Givealittle page donations and VetNZ’s $10,000.

Co-ordinators for the scholarship will soon be contacting other large clinics and stakeholders in the veterinary industry across New Zealand to seek donations.

It is hoped the money donated will exceed the initial goal of $30,000, subsequently increasing the annual scholarship award and potentially providing financial support to the Mustafa family.

Those wishing to donate to the scholarship fund can do so on the Official Hamza Mustafa Givealittle page

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