Safaa Bashir was born and raised in Sudan. She was almost finished with her Medical Degree when she arrived in Calgary in 2018. It was challenging for her to put her dreams on hold and move to Canada. After a lot of dedication and tenacity, she is finally back in Medical School and her ambition to become a doctor will soon come true.

Safaa has been volunteering for CIWA for 5 years and has made a big difference in the lives of the clients she has supported. She used to volunteer as an interpreter and a mentor with the Youth Mentorship Program. In her current role, she has gone above and beyond to support her mentee, who is a refugee student who had suffered severe trauma. Safaa was extremely kind and supportive, making this girl feel comfortable and cared for in Canada. She went  above and beyond her duties as a peer mentor, offering emotional support and engaging her in fun activities in Calgary, such as art classes, snow tubing, and community activities, to help distract her from feeling overwhelmed and help her feel at ease in Canada. Watching Safaa’s mentee emerge from her shell and gain confidence over the past three years is a testament to the time and dedication Safaa puts into her mentorship relationship.

“CIWA set me on track. The organization provides a lot of help for newcomers to Canada, not just for me, but for a multitude of others.”

Not only is Safaa proud to volunteer for an organization that offers diverse supports to women, she also appreciates the ways that CIWA recognizes volunteers through different volunteer appreciation initiatives. In addition, volunteering has given her meaningful insights into her own personality as well as many experiences that youth undergo when they arrive in Canada.

Safaa was surprised by how much she learned from her mentees. Volunteering was not only personally rewarding for Safaa because she knew she was making a difference in the lives of newcomers, but it also provided her with valuable references that helped her gain admission to Medical School.

“Without volunteering I wouldn’t have gained the experience necessary to gain entry, nor would I have received the support from staff who provided excellent references for me”.

Safaa would like to say a ‘big, huge thank you’ to CIWA and staff and that she’ll be ‘indebted forever’ because of all the valuable support she has received both as a client and a volunteer.

CIWA greatly appreciates Safaa’s kindness, empathy, ambition and dedication. In her spare time, Safaa enjoys painting, henna, and hiking.

To learn more about volunteering at CIWA, click here .