Earlier this year, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) instructor, Aisha Amijee, was awarded the BC Achievement Community Award. The award is given to 25 people from around B.C. who help build better, stronger and more resilient communities.
“It’s very exciting when you work in the non-profit sector you don’t always get appreciated so to have such a formal and grand gesture of appreciation from your community and peers, it feels beautiful,” says Amijee.
Along with juggling her work at KPU as an educational advisor and recruitment coordinator, Amijee is the founder of Voices of Muslim women, runs a project called the Digital Lens in the Visual Media Workshop created by KPU instructor Katie Warfield and teaches IDEA 1100 at KPU.
Amijee started working in the non-profit sector when she was 19 years old. She started with the Surrey Women’s Centre.
“I then worked at the Surrey Board of Trade and then I really got into community building when I travelled abroad to Uganda. I was really interested in working in International Development working on a couple of projects in India and they were great.”
She says there were a lot of failures that helped her learn that great community-building work can be done where you live.
“So, I started focusing in Surrey where I was born where I’ve lived my entire life, all three of my children are born.”
Working at KPU also meant that everyone in her family circle and community wanted advice about their educational future. So, Amijee would take students and their parents on coffee dates. That too turned into a project.
“What started off as helping the community and giving students career guidance, I turned that into a social enterprise that is called Freed Education. Our goal was to make education accessible.”
Earlier this year, she was also nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and recently shortlisted for the Community Champion Award. She says she hopes this helps young girls.
“It’s important to see women of colour in powerful positions and leadership roles. It’s important for our younger generations to see us in these roles.”