Sara Burhan is Immigrant Services Calgary’s Volunteer of the Month
Two years ago, the Volunteer Program at Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) had the pleasure of welcoming Sara to our volunteer ranks. A talented individual and new to Canada, Sara wanted to learn about the Canadian workplace. Since then, Sara has completed 120 volunteer hours with various programs at ISC, including logistics support for cultural events in the community, facilitator for children and youth programs, and administrative support for Employment Programs.
“Sara is one of the most positive, hardworking, personal, bright and efficient volunteers we have had the pleasure of working with. We can always count on her to be on time for her shifts and complete her work to a standard of excellence. Our clients’ often mention how their days are brightened up just by talking to Sara over the phone. We are incredibly lucky to have a volunteer like her!” – Noel Tsang, ISC Employment Coordinator
This is Sara’s story
“I am from Karachi, Pakistan. Like many immigrants, my story of coming to Canada is full of wonder, happiness, freedom, and achievements. However, I would like to focus on my past, which has made me the person I am today.
I am the youngest from a family of five children: my parents who are both deaf, three brothers, my sister and me. Being raised by them was an experience full of love that I would not trade for anything, but since we could only sign with our parents, it was rare that we would verbally speak with other people. My Father passed away when I was very young. While people already discriminated against our family because our parents were deaf, it became much worse without our Father there to shelter us. Part of this stemmed from our difficulties communicating with people and this is where many of the hardships of my youth came from.
After my Father passed away, our eldest Uncle and his family treated us like family, providing us with much needed support and guidance. There were many times when our family experienced financial difficulties, putting mine and my sister’s education at risk. My Uncle would help us in whatever way he could to ensure we could continue studying. During this time, a close friend who is like a sister provided me with a great amount of encouragement and supported me to follow my dreams of helping others.
When I moved to Canada to be with my husband in December 2015, my life turned around. My husband was the best thing to happen to me. Because of his love and support, I was able to achieve a lot in a very short period of time and I have received many awards and recognitions for my work. I am honoured to be chosen as Volunteer of the Month for the second time (I previously received the same recognition at CIWA), and I hope to continue making a difference in the lives of others, as people helped me in Pakistan.
Thank you Immigrant Services Calgary and other local agencies for giving me the opportunity to grow, help others and feel empowered. There are many people that Allah has sent to open the path that has led me here, and I can’t fit all their stories here, but I would like to thank them. They have a special place in my heart. They have also inspired me to become a better person and help others whenever I can; this is why I volunteer.
Thank you all so much for this recognition and for the opportunity to give back to a caring and loving community that I am proud to be a part of.”
Thank you for sharing your story, Sara. We are grateful for your continued support. Congratulations!