Back home in India, Ziauddin Khan was an IT professional who was also a community volunteer. He spent much of his time in the rural areas assisting seniors with his digital knowledge to help them pay their bills online, apply for their citizenship cards online and more. Lack of access to computers prevented community members from gaining experience, so the assistance provided by Ziauddin was vital.
In July 2018, Ziauddin landed at Calgary International Airport to join his son who had been living in YYC for more than 5 years at that time. One of the first things his son did was introduce him to the Centre for Newcomers (CFN), and encouraged him to volunteer. At CFN Ziauddin was able to receive the settlement support he needed with the assistance of a settlement practitioner.
Ziauddin initially applied to volunteer with a couple of other organizations, but did not hear back. He attended a Volunteer Information Session with CFN and enhanced his understanding of volunteering in Canada. In 2019 he began as a volunteer supporting the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). Through this opportunity, he was able to help newcomers and felt that he was meaningfully engaged with the community. As CVITP is a seasonal program, Ziauddin transitioned into a regular volunteer role within the Job Search Centre where he volunteered regularly on a weekly basis.
In the Job Search Centre, Ziauddin provided a welcoming environment to clients and assisted them with basic computer skills, printing of cover letters and resumes and answered any general questions that clients had. Ziauddin was able to productively use his time and his skills to serve the community, as well as enhance his cross-cultural communication skills through interactions with staff, other volunteers and clients who all came from a multitude of countries.
Ziauddin sees his future here in Canada primarily as a community volunteer, although he would also like to find a part-time job of some sort so he can be more independent. His passion centres around community service to others.
Volunteering has changed Ziauddin. Prior to volunteering at CFN, he considered himself a shy individual who found it difficult to meet new people as he found small talk challenging. Now he's developed the confidence to easily network and initiate conversation with people. This has allowed him to meet and interact with people from all other the world and thus helped him increase his knowledge and understanding of people from a diverse range of cultures.
CFN's Job Search Centre has been closed since March of 2020, so Ziauddin is eagerly awaiting the reopening of the Centre for Newcomers in its’ soon-to-be new location. Though his regular volunteer opportunity has been put on pause, Ziauddin has continued to assist with occasional volunteer roles, as well as take part in various training activities.
We look forward to having Ziauddin rejoin the volunteer team on a regular basis!