Salam Rifai has always been driven to help others and “create a sense of unity” among her community. After completing an exhausting list of special training throughout her life—ranging from handling addictions, abuse, sexual assault, grief, suicidal clients, newcomers’ settlement issues—and working for the Arab Community Centre of Toronto and the Member of Parliament Omar Alghabra, Salam, who speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish in addition to English, became a Settlement Counsellor and Supervisor for Tamil Eelam Society of Canada (TESOC) Multicultural Settlement Services in Scarborough. “Ecstatic” to help people every day, finding housing, employment, social support, educational pathways, and medical care, Salam also started a food and household items bank for Syrian refugees.
“People from the community were donating, and I was going to the refugees’ homes, seeing their needs in all aspects. As of today, I can proudly say I was able to help find jobs for 170 Syrians. The pleasure of helping people continues. It is so rewarding to see I am able to make a difference in people’s lives.”