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Ashley Richard receives her 2014 Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award

Ashley Richard at the 2014 Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards (MAYAA).

CBC: From the streets of Toronto to a business degree: How one Indigenous woman defied the odds

March 28, 2017 — 

As CBC News reports: 

At 16, Ashley Richard was homeless and living on the streets of Toronto.

A conflict with her mom forced her to move out on her own carrying only a garbage bag full of clothes.

During the next couple of years, Richard’s strength was tested on numerous occasions.

Richard was sexually assaulted while living on the street when she was 19. She also found herself living in numerous shelters and on friends’ couches whenever she could. It was during that time, she knew something had to change.

“I felt like if I was going to revitalize my spirit it would have to be there,” Richard said.

Grandma credited with inspiration 

So Richard picked up her belongings and made the trip to Winnipeg. Her grandmother, Mary Richard, one of her biggest motivators, gave her the push she needed.

“She was, and still is, the reason I do everything I do,” Richard said.

Shortly after Richard got settled in Winnipeg, she applied in the Asper School of Business program. She said she’s always felt there aren’t enough Indigenous youth interested in the business world, so the school was the perfect place for her to make her mark.

“I don’t think the community sees the important part that Indigenous people have to play in this day and age in the world of business and commerce.”

‘Love feeling like I have a purpose in my life’

Richard was accepted in 2013. Five years later, she’s now set to graduate in a few weeks time. 

Read the full story here.

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