Community Legal Worker honoured for work with refugees
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Ever since she left Iran in 1984 in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO’s) Community Legal Worker, Nasrin Tabibzadeh, has worked with refugees. She was honoured for her work by Seneca College in March.
“I was very happy and surprised – it’s heartwarming to be acknowledged for your work.”
“Having faced similar challenges, I feel a deep empathy for what my clients are going through,” she says. “It’s a privilege to help people.”
Throughout the revolution, Nasrin witnessed close family members detained, tortured and jailed for political reasons. As a result, she made a conscious decision to dedicate her life to helping people in similar situations.
Over nearly 30 years, Nasrin’s work has included volunteering with women and children at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees camp and serving on the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Protection Division.
After immigrating to Canada in 1988, Nasrin started working with LAO in 1994 – with a brief absence while serving on the Immigration and Refugee Board from 2003 to 2006 – and currently works out of the Refugee Law Office in Toronto. There, she splits her time at LAO’s office and at federal detention centres, where she helps clients who have been arrested for immigration matters ranging from not having proper identification to being a flight risk.
Around Valentine’s Day this year, Carole Dahan, the director of the Refugee Law Office in Toronto, called a quick staff meeting to announce that Seneca College’s School of Community Services was honoring Nasrin’s work with immigrants and refugees in detention.
“I had no idea I was even nominated,” she says. “I was very happy and surprised – it’s heartwarming to be acknowledged for your work.”
On March 26, she was recognized for her outstanding dedication to immigrants and refugees in detention at a ceremony in front of approximately 300 students and guests at York University, with her colleagues present and the previous director of the Refugee Law Office, Jack Martin in attendance. She says she felt incredibly supported – as she has always been at LAO.
“I told the students present that it’s a rewarding experience to help people who are going through an incredibly rough time in their lives,” she says of her speech.
Working out of LAO’s Refugee Law Office, Nasrin experiences gratification on a daily basis and believes the help provided makes a big difference to those looking for a new start in Canada.
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