Finding Joy and Belonging In Community and Volunteering: Hamida’s Story

Have you met Hamida? 


In February 2020, Hamida joined our PIRS family as a participant. In only five months, she quickly graduated from our LEAD, Building Bridges, and Moving Forward programs! Her enthusiasm for learning was followed by her eagerness to help others, as she immediately became a PIRS volunteer when we started our Emergency Food Hub Project in July of 2020. 

Hamida tells us, “If it’s your first time in Canada, it’s so difficult to find out where your food is, how to manage money, but PIRS supports and helps maintain families for the week. If any refugees want different things or special needs, like halal food, PIRS makes sure there is halal food in the hamper.

In a new country, I didn’t know anybody in the beginning…I came to Canada, and I had a lot of pain that comes without certainty and community, but I don’t feel this now…PIRS courses gave me more confidence…When I go outside, when I come here to support or help somebody, it gives me more happiness. It is a big achievement.

I like to help other people. It gives me enjoyment, and I meet a lot of people here from different countries…People have lots of stories, how people migrate here, how people feel in Canada…A special moment is when refugees receive their PR card. It’s wonderful news! And all the volunteers, we all celebrate…Everybody volunteers from their heart. It’s the best part.” 

Her passion is moving and inspiring. It’s no wonder that Hamida is also the recipient of the 2021 PIRS Mary Affleck Award and our volunteer of the year!