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Diversity Scholarship recipient Dimah builds co-operation among newcomers

Published November 24, 2021

Diversity Scholarship recipient Dimah builds co-operation among newcomers

For Dimah Abdulkareem, Old Grace Housing Co-operative was the first safe haven in many years.

Dimah came to Canada in 2014 as a 13-year-old refugee fleeing conflict in northern Iraq. Her family had lived in a refugee camp in Turkey for two years before receiving a sponsorship in Winnipeg. When the family moved into Old Grace in 2018, Dimah immediately felt the welcome of a community that was making diversity, accessibility and inclusion top priorities.

Regular programs run by the co-op have fostered friendships among people of many backgrounds, and have helped Dimah’s mother, who spoke no English, become more confident and make some friends.

Headshot of Dimah's faceAs well as participating in co-op initiatives, Dimah has volunteered with the Canadian Yaziri Association and Operation Ezra, a non-governmental organization that privately sponsors and resettles refugees from Turkey and Iraq. Her work included childcare, translation services, grocery shopping and assistance with appointments.

For the past two years, she has spent many hours on The Healing Farm, a project designed to help refugees grow and harvest a variety of vegetables, bringing them a connection to the land and a sense of identity in their new home. Some of the produce is sold at the co-op each summer. Working with other refugees allowed Dimah to share her stories and teach others while at the same time learning about herself and what she most enjoys doing.

Dimah was also part of the Environmental Action Committee at her high school where she participated in programs to help make the school and community environment more sustainable for future generations.

The CHF Canada Diversity Scholarship will assist Dimah as she begins a Bachelor of Social Work program at Booth University College.

CHF Canada’s Diversity Scholarships are available to young members (35 and under) of CHF Canada member housing co-ops in Manitoba, Southwestern Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Training scholarships are available to board and committee members of any age.

The scholarship program across all federations is made possible by donations from over 70 companies, organizations and individuals. 

Thank you to the sponsors of our Diversity Scholarship program: Co-operators, Assiniboine Credit Union, Westboine Housing Co-op, Bluenose Engineering, the Community Housing Management NetworkThe Zock Group Inc., and Village Canadien Co-operative. If you are interested in sponsoring this program, please contact jlapalme@chfcanada.coop.

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