Volunteer of the Month - March 2018
Biniam Okbaslasie is Immigrant Services Calgary’s Volunteer of the month.
Biniam has always wanted to help people, in any way possible. In Sudan, he was a resettlement counsellor and casual interpreter in a refugee camp. Before that, he was an elementary school teacher in Eritrea. He arrived in Canada in 2013, on a snowy winter day. Despite having reunited with his brother in Calgary, there were many challenges that he had to overcome alone. Biniam recalls not only the difficulties he had - the language barrier, the harsh winter, the culture shock - but also the support he received.
“The culture was completely different from what I was used to. I was new to the city; ISC and other organizations helped me a lot with settling down.”
He came to ISC in January 2014 and this is when his journey with us started, first looking for settlement support. In 2016 he returned as a volunteer, pursuing his passion to help.
“I am so happy about what I do. It’s very satisfying when I see others using our resources (at Immigrant Services Calgary). It reminds me of the time when I was new to the city. I am paying it forward now and I am grateful for the honour of being the volunteer of the month.”
Biniam is a deserving volunteer who contributed over 210 volunteer hours so far in the ILVARC office, while continuing his own integration process. He still volunteers in our office every week, gracing everyone he meets with a warm smile and fulfilling dutifully his tasks for the day.
“I have built my experience and ability to work with different cultures at ISC. I believe in the work that ISC does for immigrants and refugees and remain appreciative of the ISC employees’ effort and enthusiasm to support their clients.”
Clients and volunteers like yourself inspire us all at ISC, Biniam. Congratulations!