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Alumni Profiles

Suhair al-bashir

Suhair Al-Bashir 

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 2013
Program: Social Service Worker - Immigration and Refugee Stream

In Their Shoes: Helping Newcomer Families Adjust

As a Settlement Worker for the Halton Multicultural Council, Suhair Al-Bashir works with newcomers who are encountering difficulties adjusting to life in Canada. She knows what it’s like to be in their shoes: five years ago, Suhair moved to Canada from Jordan with her husband and three children.

“I totally understand newcomers’ emotions finding themselves in a new country,” says Suhair who worked as a teacher in the Middle East. “Settlement is a long journey and involves both the adaptation of a new culture and acceptance from others.”

For her part, Suhair found the absence of social supports and interaction to be the biggest challenges following her move to Canada but soon discovered that “volunteering was the key to creating new friendships and overcoming the isolation,” maintains Suhair.

In fact, it was while volunteering for the Arab Community Center of Toronto that Suhair thought seriously of changing careers and becoming a social service worker. (Suhair holds a B.A in Art and Public Administration from the University of Jordan.)

Attracted by the co-op element of Sheridan’s program, as well as the high praise it received from the social service professionals she consulted, Suhair enrolled at the college with the aim of working directly with newcomers. Hired by the Halton Multicultural Council following graduation, Suhair provides referrals and link clients with specific settlement services and resources in the community. “Some clients have a difficult time even managing day to day chores. I get the most enjoyment and satisfaction from helping these vulnerable people.”

Getting the support for her clients is not always easy, however, says Suhair. Language barriers and lack of local community services can be roadblocks but, with some research and persistence, she is able to find the answers for her clients. What’s more, Suhair felt prepared to take on her role as a Settlement Worker thanks in large part to her Sheridan education. “I graduated with not only a diploma and the knowledge I needed, plus new friends and colleagues whom I respect.”

Now 17, 15 and 10 years old, Suhair’s children are building their own educational future in their adopted home.

Learn more about Sheridan’s Social Service Worker-Immigration and Refugee Stream