By Ryan Charles Parker
Some things can’t be lost in translation. Care is one of them. When someone takes the time to help you, it is understood immediately. If it is done out of only a desire to help and without expected award, it comes across in a way that transcends any language barrier.
Safia Mohamed works to help new Canadians. As a volunteer for Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) and Catholic Social Services (CSS), she helps with translation in a number of capacities.
“Most of her work is done in schools, where she helps settlement workers establish connections between parents and teachers,” says Blerta Llupi, who works closely with Safia. “But she also helps at CARE, contacting students at the beginning and at the end of every trimester. She helped with phone calls during Covid as well, explaining from how to be safe, why to wear a face mask to discussions about vaccination. Safia also has helped with CSS interpreting for their clients in different workshops they had organized.”
Safia knows how difficult it is to settle in a new country and culture, as she used CARE’s services when she was first in Canada. Once she had passed their highest-level ESL course, she began volunteering for the organization.
Llupi says that Safia’s contributions are immeasurable and that the organizations would greatly suffer from her absence once she is unable to commit her usual amount of time.
“It is not only her help we will miss, but her as individual,” says Llupi. “If you can just meet her, you get that positive energy, and it feels like you have known her for a long time. She makes you feel that whatever the problem is, it will be ok and we will make it work.”
Despite her large volume of selfless effort, Safia is humble. Llupi told me that “she is dedicated to helping her community, but she never makes a big deal out of it”
In interviewing her, her humility and kindness is understood even over the phone. She has a completely unassuming reason for the motivation to volunteer as much as she does.
“I’m happy to help people,” she told me, simply.
Such pure-heartedness is moving. She doesn’t help to get into the spotlight. It is exactly that attitude that has made her the Volunteer of the Month.