Dawari’s Journey: A Beacon of Hope for Newly Arrived Refugees in Calgary

------From Refugee to Community Liaison at Immigrant Services Calgary

By Lejia Feng

Dawari, a father of seven, journeyed with his family from Afghanistan to Canada in March 2022. When he landed in Calgary as a refugee, he had no idea what was in store for him—or that less than a year later, he would be helping other refugees like him. Moving to Calgary led him to discover his true calling as a community liaison at Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), where his unwavering commitment to helping other refugees earned him a well-deserved reputation as a beacon of hope for newcomers in need.

Dawari's dedication to supporting others dates back over 20 years. In Afghanistan, he worked with national and international organizations to help displaced individuals and those in need.

This background in community service gave him the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in his role at ISC, which began when Dawari attended a career fair in late 2022 and crossed paths with the organization’s outreach manager. Eager to contribute his skills and experiences, he submitted his resume and was soon hired.

As a community liaison, Dawari's primary role is to provide essential support at the Immigrant Arrival Centre located at the Calgary International Airport. He serves as a guiding light for newcomers by helping them navigate a maze of resources and programs—and ultimately, ease their transitions into new lives.

Reflecting on his experience serving newcomers, Dawari remembers a refugee family that had never travelled abroad before, was completely lost upon arrival, and was put into temporary accommodation in Red Deer.

The family somehow obtained Dawari's phone number and reached out for help. He rented a house for them, arranged their transportation, and assisted with their children's education—going above and beyond in his attempt to help.

Today, the family is thriving, with the husband working for a construction company and the kids settling into school.

Dawari's commitment to helping others also extends far beyond his professional role. He is actively involved in volunteer work with the Afghan community in Calgary, and offers guidance and support regardless of the time of day or night. He assists community members to find housing, search for jobs, obtain driver’s licences, and purchase vehicles.

"What I do with the Afghan community is entirely volunteering. People just called me and said, ’We got your number from somebody else, please help us.’ And what did I do? I just helped them, and it made me so happy!"

As newcomers navigate their own challenges and uncertainties, Dawari's journey stands as a testament to the potential within everyone, reminding them that they too can overcome adversity, unleash their potential, and forge a path to success.

About the Author

Lejia Feng moved to Canada from China in 2020. She currently works as a Digital Marketing Specialist at Immigrant Services Calgary. In her spare time, you can find her strolling through city parks, walking her dog and cherishing the simple joys of nature.

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