Volunteer, Afghan Canadian Association of British Columbia
Ratib came to Canada in 1986. Seizing the opportunity “to build my life in Canada,” he began volunteering at the Immigrant Services Society of BC, and several other organizations in Burnaby. In 1991 Ratib was instrumental in founding the Afghan Association of BC, a non-religious and non-political organization serving all Afghans residing in BC. Ratib has worked hard to build the association, has completed several terms as its President and has assisted hundreds of Afghani newcomers to settle.
Ratib has been a leader in the development of several initiatives within the association, including the creation of a volunteer group that assists newcomers with settlement needs, a women’s group, and a youth group that focuses on programs and activities to meet the needs of Afghan-Canadian youth.
Ratib is proud that the association hosts celebrations of both Afghan and Canadian culture. He says, “We help newcomers understand the laws here, help them with legal issues if they have them, and help families integrate into Canadian culture. We get our youth involved, helping out the community or working on our big parties. For Mother’s Day we had a picnic in the park, with over two thousand attendees, and plan another one for Father’s Day.”
“We teach Farsi and offer tea and coffee and games. We discuss Afghan and Canadian culture. We help people back home who are in bad situations and work to sponsor them.”
Ratib has been instrumental in creating a sense of cohesiveness and togetherness amongst Afghans, a community which has been torn apart by years of conflict in Afghanistan. He has also played a significant role in assisting this community to build attachments and connection to their new country.
He says, “I love volunteer work. I love to help others. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what language you speak or which religion you are, a human being is a human being. If we can all help each other, it’s better for the country.”