I made Kitchener my home on Dec. 1, 2000, when I arrived in Canada with my husband and four children. We fell in love with KW so much so that we decided to settle in downtown Kitchener. As my children started school, my husband and I devoted our time to a retail business in downtown Kitchener.
I began volunteering at the Working Centre and the KW Multicultural Centre almost as soon as I arrived. Here, I discovered a passion for building a healthy, inclusive and vibrant community. I changed my career and began working in the not-for-profit sector, where I soon realized I am better suited to work for systemic and societal changes. I went back to school to complete my BA in psychology and masters in social work (“community, policy, planning, organizations” stream) while working full time and continuing to volunteer.
My professional portfolio includes frontline services, advocacy, and leadership and management. I have served those who needed emergency food, and worked with job seekers who lost long-term stable employment as a result of economic restructuring. I have helped internationally trained professionals along their path to full integration in the labour market. I have worked with others to create public education and advocacy campaigns to address systemic issues of poverty; unemployment/underemployment of immigrants; women’s leadership; youth engagement, and diversity and inclusion. I have managed a neighbourhood-based community centre and a large service hub.
My love for Kitchener has driven me to champion civic actions to make all things better, all the time. Together with a handful of local women, I founded Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (CMW) in 2010, to enhance communication and foster understanding between Muslim women and the larger community. Today, CMW is supported by hundreds of women, and increasingly men, of different backgrounds, all of whom proudly engage in community-building. CMW has raised thousands of dollars for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region; enriched the local art and culture sector; brought together individuals, citizen groups and organizations to tackle to address poverty, gender disparity, community health, and low democratic engagement.
I am grateful. For all the support I have received as I put down my roots in this community while building a new life from scratch for my family. I am grateful for 17+ years of a successful career in the local not-for-profit sector, and for an equally long tenure serving the community in formal and informal leadership roles.
I am ready to serve the community in a different role, this time as a regional councillor.
Stronger Together A Healthy Community for all Time for Change