Saba Andu

Working with us for 30 years

Saba Andu left Eritrea in 1978 and went to Sudan as a refugee. She then moved to Saudi Arabia to find work to support her family, who were still refugees in Sudan.  After spending eight years in Saudi Arabia, she came to Saskatoon through family sponsorship. When she came to Canada, she was very happy to reunite with her two sisters, who were already in Saskatoon. She reunited with them after 10 to 15 years of separation.

For assistance with employment, her younger sister took her to see Louise Welen at SODS and she quickly joined our job-training program. The rest is history! On 9 May 1988, after just six months in Canada, she started working with us as a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. Over the three decades spent with us she has worked as an Administrative Assistant, in the Men’s Cooking, Food For Thought and Nobody’s Perfect programs, and for the last 18 years as a Settlement Counsellor (RAP/One-Year Window and NARS). She has spoken about refugee and immigration awareness on our behalf at many different community and educational events.

She always seeks to improve her knowledge in the areas of counselling, suicide prevention training, conflict resolution and mediation. She regularly attends Canadian Immigration conferences and has a basic knowledge of Family Law. Over the years, she had the opportunity to attend many professional workshops, training sessions and seminars. More recently, she has been an active member of the World Refugee Day committee.

In March 2003, she was a City of Saskatoon guest speaker for the UN’s Race Relations Month. In 2011, she won a Women of Distinction Award in Community Building from the Saskatoon YWCA.


Ahmad Majid

A multi-talented employee

Ahmad Majid is of Iraqi descent and was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the summer of 1990, the youngest of four children. His family came to Canada from Kuwait to escape the unrest during the First Gulf War. Shortly after arriving in this country, they settled in the small town of Moose Jaw, SK where his father found employment. When he was 10 years old, he moved to the United Arab Emirates with his sister and mother for two and a half years.

By the time he moved back to Canada in 2003, social attitudes towards Arabs and Muslims had changed drastically. He witnessed his parents’ struggles to find and maintain employment and integrate into mainstream Canadian society. This had a profound effect on him as he grew up, and it became his primary inspiration in placing assisting newcomers to Canada at the core of his educational and professional activities.

At the age of 18, he started to write and perform poetry and hip-hop at local venues and poetry nights around Saskatoon. Since he had grown up in small-town Saskatchewan and lived in the Middle East, his goal was to build a bridge between the two cultures at a time when the divide was steadily widening.

When he was 20 years old, he made the Saskatoon Poetry Slam Team and travelled to Toronto to represent the city in a competition of Canada’s top spoken word poets. In 2013, he travelled to Montreal with the team, where they placed third in the country. He now regularly presents spoken word performances and workshops across Saskatchewan and Canada with the objective of inspiring the next generation of young voices.


Martin Nyai

Teaching newcomer children the basics of soccer

Martin was born in South Sudan, and as a result of the civil war, his parents fled with him to Uganda as refugees when he was a child. In 2007, he moved to Saskatchewan as a refugee immigrant and settled in the City of Saskatoon. Having grown up enjoying sports, he joined the Saskatoon Open Door Society’s youth soccer team, which is registered in Men’s Division Three.  At the time, he was also volunteering as a soccer coach for children aged 7 to 13. During the summer, Martin coached newcomer children in basic soccer skills such as ball control, movement and passing the ball to teammates. Since his arrival in Canada in 2007, Martin has been actively involved in playing soccer with the Bishop James Mahoney High School team, SODS’ newcomer youth team, and the Spanish League. On top of his work as Settlement Support Worker in Schools, he plays in Saskatoon’s adult soccer league with the Pan African FC Team in Division One.