Omolara Adekunle (“Lara” for short)

Helping Children Connect to Their Own Culture and Heritage

Originally from Nigeria, Lara arrived in Saskatoon in the fall of 2010 with her husband and three children. She joined the Saskatoon Open Door Society in September 2011 as an Early Childhood Educator and, by August 2015, she had risen to the position of Supervisor of one of our Childcare Centres.

Lara has been giving back to her Nigerian community in general and to the Yoruba community in particular. She served as the principal of Saskatoon’s Yoruba Language and Heritage School for several years, and is currently the president of the school and a member of its Board of Directors.  She is passionate about ensuring the teaching of Yoruba culture, language and heritage to future generations.

Lara is also Vice-President of the Yoruba Community Association of Saskatoon, where she heads up various committees that organize social, cultural and heritage functions.  She loves to help bring the community together by making home visits to new community members or providing conflict resolution services.

Every year since 2016, she has served on the committee for Nigerian passport acquisition and intervention, which brings the Nigerian consular staff to Saskatoon. This visit is critical to community members because it eliminates the cost of travelling to Ottawa for the sole purpose of passport renewal or acquisition.

Lara’s involvement with her home community gives her a way to connect to her heritage and sense of identity. As the supervisor of one of our multicultural Childcare Centres, this is important to her because she can help children connect to their own culture and heritage as well as those of others.


Don (ald B.) Campbell

An art-loving ESL teacher

Don (ald B.) Campbell grew up on a Saskatchewan farm and didn't leave Canada until he was 24.  Since then he has visited 15 countries.  After volunteer teaching with the Saskatoon Open Door Society (starting in 1983), he taught English in Japan.  He has kept teaching for 35 years partly to learn about other cultures and to repay some of the kindness that people in several Asian countries showed him when he travelled and lived there.

A permanent employee since 1992, Don had several teaching contracts at SODS before that.  Other work here has included materials development and organizing Drop-In English classes.

Don taught ESL and English for Academic Purposes at the University of Saskatchewan, where he was also an instructor for 20 years in the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language program. He served as President and a long-term board member with an organization for teachers (SCENES/TESL Saskatchewan).  He has presented workshops at conferences and SODS teachers' PD days.

As "Donald B. Campbell", he is a playwright, actor and director. Acting skills help when he teaches ESL.  His plays have been performed in Saskatoon, Regina, North Battleford and Edmonton.  He has been part of Fringe Theatre Festivals 13 times, including the first in North America (Edmonton, 1982).  He has been active in community theatre, as well as writing for magazines and doing arts reporting for provincial and national CBC Radio. 

Don's love of visual arts made him excited about taking students to Saskatoon's Remai Modern museum.  An Iraqi woman smiled and said, "Picasso!  My first Picasso!"  A man from Nepal followed Don's example and used his imagination while looking up at a structurist relief by Eli Bornstein.   The student said, "I see mountains!"

  • Find out about Learning English at SODS 
  • Without teachers like Don we could have never achieved so much in terms of making our students proud Saskatonians and Canadians. By supporting our Language Training Programs you make a difference in supporting their integration into the social and cultural fabric of our city, province and country.

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.


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.


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.