No stranger to being interviewed by Booth UC, Maryam once again said yes to the opportunity to discuss her journey with us. Avid Booth UC Connect magazine readers may remember Maryam from the Fall 2019 edition where she was featured on the front cover and in an article, with her friend, Mihret Zewude (BSW/19). At the time, she was in the final months of her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Booth UC and awaiting the beginning of her professional career.
In the summer of 2020, Maryam secured the role of Community Engagement Specialist at the General Child and Family Services Authority of Manitoba, where she began a coalition of Manitoba cultural communities for families to support Winnipeg Child and Family Services’ front line workers and service managers.
“As Community Engagement Specialist for the General Authority, I have multiple roles. My Social Work degree, combined with my experience within community and understanding what a community needs, means that their voices are heard. It means that vulnerable populations are heard, and their needs are met,” she says.
At this time, Maryam is also working with the front line workers and service managers within the Winnipeg Child and Family Services’ seven different service units. Her goal is to learn from them about gaps in cultural resources and services. “The feedback is that a lot of services focus on newcomers. However, some who have been living here for a while still need English language assistance, information on domestic violence, prenatal help, housing, and basic needs” she states.
As a refugee from Iraq, arriving with her family in Canada in 2001, Maryam is keenly aware of the needs of those who are vulnerable She explains that her experience as a newcomer influences the work she does today, as she is able to see through an “oppressive lens”. She took an active role to learn, by completing her degree, so that she can understand even more fully the experiences of others. She made what she calls a “leap of faith” by coming to Booth UC, and now she is taking that education and truly making the world a better place.
“I feel good about what I am doing. When I see the results, and I see the reports, and I really understand the impact it will make and why I came into the field”.