2003-2005, 2007 - 2008
In 2003, Maryamm Himid and her two young sons left Montreal for a two-year volunteer placement in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Maryamm helped conduct voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) at the Kiota Women Health and Development Organization (KIWOHEDE).
Maryamm’s sons were deeply involved in her their mother’s placement. They travelled with her to outreach weekends—taking photos and videos, and spending time with the youth. The boys taught their new friends English and karate. In return, they learned the Swahili language.
The experience proved formative for the boys. “It was good for me to bring my kids,” Maryamm says. “They will always remember meeting children who were poor and hungry, without access to safe drinking water.”
Thinking back to her volunteer placements, Maryamm says she really had to reflect upon her personal values and beliefs. She learned about issues she could contribute to in Canada, like mental health, reproductive health and cross-cultural communication. This interest compelled Maryamm to study international women’s health and human rights, and to pursue a career in social work.
“People all over the world, we are all so similar,” says Maryamm. “But we live in completely different environments.”