Emotional Labour

Almaz’s counselling career is emotionally demanding. She emphasizes that settlement work “takes all your life, and becomes your lifestyle.” Resources are few, and challenges numerous. Nonetheless, Almaz is dedicated to helping newcomers. She has personally assisted clients late into the night when necessary. She also partners with other organizations and volunteers her time to create activities to help families.

The hard work Almaz puts into helping immigrants is taxing but also fulfilling. “When you see them flourishing,” she says, “you feel so happy and say to yourself it was all worth it.”

Recently, Almaz worked to welcome Syrian refugees at a Toronto airport. She says that in these moments, she became “a Canadian in [her] heart.” 30 years ago, Almaz was greeted in Canada by an immigration officer. Now, she sees herself as having come “full circle” as she welcomes newcomers to Canada.