Abdirezak Adam is originally from Somalia. Because of civil war there, his family fled to Kenya where he spent seven years in the harsh living conditions of the Dadaab refugee camps. Through the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, he resettled in Winnipeg. He has worked for UNHCR and Care International Canada. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Winnipeg. He is a board member of Hospitality House Refugee Ministry, vice president of the Manitoba Somali Association, and is a co-founder of Humankind International.
Muuxi Adam arrived in Winnipeg in 2004 at age 16 after escaping war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. He produced and directed a film called A Ray of Hope that describes the tough, often life-or-death choices young refugees and immigrants face. Currently, he is working for the Manitoba Provincial Government and undertaking his Masters in Socialwork. He also serves on the Winnipeg Recreation Task Force of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and on the Manitoba Ethnocultural Advisory and Advocacy Council, and is a co-founder of Humankind International.
Abdi Ahmed, has a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Born in Somalia, he spent his formative years in Kenya before immigrating to Canada in 2003. Abdi has extensive experience working with refugees and nomadic pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya and helped form the non-profit called Environmentalistes Sans Frontieres. Abdi has served on a number of boards and committees advocating for the needs of immigrant and refugee communities and in 2009 was awarded the Amina Malko Fellowship by the Canadian Council for Refugees as a potential refugee leader in Canada. He is co-founder of Humankind International.
Matt Fast has worked on behalf of families affected by conflict and war for many years. During 2008–2010, he was Program Manager for Uganda Hands for Hope in Kampala, which addressed economic security, health, and education for young people and women. He has volunteered with Welcome Place, assisting with family settlement; the IRCOM, assisting with after-school programs; and the N.E.E.D.S. Centre, working with youth at risk of joining street gangs. He holds his master’s degree in peace and conflict studies at the University of Manitoba and is working for N.E.E.D.S. Centre.
Anne Mahon has been involved in community service for more than 25 years. Her 2013 book The Lucky Ones; African Refugees’ Stories of Extraordinary Courage, won the Manitoba Library’s On The Same Page Book Award. It tells the stories of 18 African immigrants in Winnipeg. All funds raised from the book are being donated to two local charities supporting Winnipeg’s African community. Since 2006, she has volunteered with the New Literacy Initiative at the IRCOM. Anne is also a member of Unicief’s 25th Team, a group of Canadian women committed to women’s and children’s health in the developing world.
Kirby Borgardt has a passion for education and extensive experience teaching youth affected by war. In 2013, Kirby travelled to South Sudan to facilitate a teacher-training program and to gather research on the psychosocial needs of youth affected by war post conflict. Kirby is an associate member to the Winnipeg Rotary’s World Service Committee supporting the South Sudanese community through various avenues. Kirby is currently working as a research assistant to analyze programs and services that help newcomers adjust to life in Winnipeg. Currently a Program Manager at N.E.E.D.S. Inc., Kirby is completing her PBDE in counselling and is a Youth Advisory Member on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Anita Riedl graduated from the University of Winnipeg with an Arts and Education degree in English and German. She has been an EAL teacher at General Wolfe School for the past ten years. Anita has a passion for teaching immigrant and refugee youth, and helping them to feel welcome. Through her role as a teacher and by making community connections, Anita advocates for her students to receive the best school experience possible. Anita is also a member of the Newcomer Education Coalition (NEC), a group of individuals who work to improve the educational experiences of newcomer youth in Manitoba’s school system. Her hope is to start her Master’s degree in Newcomer Education within the next few years.
Jen Glenwright attained her BA in International Development Studies and Conflict Resolution Studies from Menno Simmons College. She volunteered with IRCOM in the children’s program and English class and has now worked at IRCOM for 7 years as the Manager for the Newcomer Literacy Initiative. Jen is passionate about refugee rights. She loves to travel and in 2014 cycled from Bolivia to Brazil to raise money for an orphanage in Santa Cruz.
Janet Racz has a strong interest in education and community involvement. Janet has practiced as a lawyer for approximately 20 years. During this time, she was counsel for the Attorney General of British Columbia, Great-West Life Assurance Company, and currently, Cangene Corporation dba Emergent BioSolutions. Janet has been active on several volunteer boards. Janet has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Victoria.