Inspiring Changemakers featured in this year’s Immigrant Women of Inspiration

posted on April 9, 2020

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Our seventh annual ‘Immigrant Women of Inspiration’ special shines the spotlight on women who are Changemakers – leading voices who have served and continue to serve as an inspiration in so many different fields.

We have picked five women from different backgrounds, countries of origin and generations whose voices are inspiring others and making a positive impact. Some have been here for decades, and others have made Canada home just a few years ago. These are their inspiring journeys.

Here are the stories of Muzna Dureid, Alma Arzate, Laura Mannix, Lata Pada and Nelly Gong.

Muzna Dureid, Youth activist

Muzna Dureid was born in Syria to an activist family. When Dureid was 16, Iraqi refugees flooded Syria seeking shelter from the ongoing war in Iraq. This is when she first realized her deep compassion for and endless inner power to help the less fortunate in any way possible. By the time Dureid was 19, her family became one of millions of Syrian refugees fleeing the war, seeking shelter in France, Saudi Arabia, and then Turkey.

While living in Istanbul, Turkey as a human rights activist, Dureid was invited by the Nobel Women’s Initiative to come intern in Ottawa. Though she knew no one in Canada, Dureid made her way here in 2016 and discovered a welcoming society, one that allowed her to grow and feel supported.“I was in touch with a Canadian family in Montreal and they invited me to stay with them, considering my situation,” said Dureid. “So, I moved to Montreal and I applied for asylum there.”

Soon after, Dureid decided Canada would be her new home. This family eventually applied to privately sponsor the rest of Dureid’s family. They arrived in 2019, and are very proud of Dureid’s efforts and accomplishments.

Dureid works for The White Helmets, a humanitarian NGO that brings volunteers together to help people in war zones. “We have 5,000 people on our teams who help civilians all over Syria, giving them first aid and helping them… helping them to stay where they are and to be resilient in facing all kinds of pressure and war,” said Dureid.

Read more