A passion for care and inclusion, from Kakuma to Durham

Sabri, a Nurse from Sudan, will be relocating to Durham, Ontario. Photo by Will O’Hare.

“For me,” says Sabri, “being a nurse is not just a profession, but it is a calling – filled with countless rewards and fulfilling experiences.”

Speaking from his home in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, Sabri Musa, a healthcare professional and father of two small children is reflecting on the career that he has shaped his life around, and the journey it is about to take him on.

In a couple of months, Sabri and his family will move to Durham, Ontario, so that Sabri can begin working as a Personal Support Worker for SE Health, a national not-for-profit healthcare provider that operates in private homes, community care homes, long-term care homes, and hospitals across Canada.

Sabri first connected with SE Health through TalentLift, which he learnt of while searching for opportunities to use his healthcare skills abroad on LinkedIn. Having fled Sudan years ago, he knew that opportunities for people with refugee status in Kenya could be limited, and was looking to raise his children in Canada, where they could have a better foundation. Authorities created Kakuma camp in 1992 initially to house people who left Sudan for safety, but it persists today, and is home to more than 200,000. 

After interviewing with SE Health, Sabri accepted an offer to join their team as a Personal Support Worker at a care home in Durham, working with elderly people. The role, he says, will align well with his passion for providing support to patients of all ages who have conditions related to mental health, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), autism, Cerebral Palsy and others.

No matter the patient’s needs, Sabri says the most rewarding aspect of his work is being able to provide companionship in what can be difficult moments for his patients. “I always wish to make people feel better with my companionship and interactions. Making meaningful connections with patients on a personal level, understanding their needs, and being there for them is my rejoice,” he says.

While working as a special needs and physical therapy caregiver in Kakuma throughout the past years, Sabri has made it a priority to consistently upgrade his skillset, taking courses in art therapy, counselling skills, and conflict resolution. “Promoting healing by offering emotional support is a crucial role for a caregiver, and I never dreamed of how much it could improve individual well-being.”

Advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities in Kakuma and in Kenyan society more broadly has also been an important part of Sabri’s journey as a caregiver. Having seen the impacts of ableist discrimination through his patients’ experiences, he worked with others in the camp to hold an awareness campaign about inclusion and disability rights.

He’s planning to take on more learning opportunities when he arrives in Canada. 

“I look forward to advancing my career growth opportunities by joining training and education programs. Being in a workplace with diversity and inclusion at SE Health will help me to grow as an individual,” he said, noting that it’s not just about his own learning and success. “It’s about improving my work and living so that my children will have better access to education and health care.”

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