Shairoze Damji

    What drives Shairoze to push for a Calgary where there is Enough for All

    "I always say my mum could make friends with anyone. And, when we came to Calgary as new immigrants, that’s what she did! My mum created a community for my family from the people she met at the mailbox in our apartment building and a handful of Ismaili women in our cultural community.  Looking back, it’s obvious that this community is what got us through. The community had a standing invitation for morning tea – it soon became a daily weekday ritual.  They helped my parents learn Canadian norms and culture, from the education system, to healthcare, banking, volunteering and even politics. When my parents had a question or needed advice, it was done over a cup of tea. The number one lesson was that only way to break the cycle of poverty is an education. However, it was not an education for the sole purpose of a better life. An education is a privilege and comes with a responsibility to use your knowledge to help improve the lives of others and your community. This wrap around community not only helped my parents, but it also helped to propel the next generation.

    My dad would say that you can only truly have a good day if you have had reached out to help or if you cared for someone else. I’ve volunteered with settlement agencies, refugee groups, and non-profit organizations and have witnessed the value of people supporting people – creating a community like my parents had. That’s what enough for all means to me, having a web of individuals and agencies working together for a better Calgary. Amazing work happens when we have fewer silos and I’m happy I get a chance to play a part in making that happen through my work at VCC.”