The eighth annual I am London campaign showcases immigrants who provide essential services in London. Join us on the 8th of every month until December 2021 to read about our Faces of London.
Amna Saleem, Founder of Caring Canadians Society, “Making a difference in the life of one person counts.”
Amna Saleem, a graphic designer by profession, has always believed that it is important to give back. She says, “I believe that God has given everyone the capacity to go above and beyond to help others. All we need is the heart to feel the pain of others around us especially if we have been through that pain ourselves”. When she left her native Pakistan in October 2012 to begin her new life in Canada, she left behind a half-finished, much cherished dream of establishing a seniors’ home in her hometown.
As soon as she settled down in London, Amna began to look for opportunities to help. “I have always wanted to do charity work,” says Amna, “so why not here? After all Canada is now my country, my home.” Amna saw that there was a gap in supporting vulnerable people, particularly newcomers and refugees, in London. She started a “food, clothing and essentials bank” with the help of a Facebook page and limited contributions from within her community. This soon expanded to include hundreds of other community members across Canada and around the world. In 2017 Amna registered her charity as a not-for-profit organization aptly called the Caring Canadians Society.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Caring Canadian Society donated thousands of PPE kits, delivered hundreds of door-to-door food hampers and supported community members in need through a personalized grocery and pharmacy program. “We have developed relationships with organizations like Mission Services, the Salvation Army, My Sister’s Place, London Health Unit, Muslim Resource Centre, Sakeenah Homes, Rotholme Women and Family Shelter and others,” says Amna, “and through them we have provided immense support to their clients.”
Caring Canadians Society is humbled by the gratitude of the people they help. Through their various charitable connections in London, people know that they have a place they can call when their need is urgent, like the new father who called from the hospital needing a car seat to bring his newborn home, or the request from one of the shelters for hats, mittens and gloves in the winter. Amna and her team use their Facebook community to raise the funds needed to fulfil the requests. “We may not be doing things on a big scale, but I believe that making a difference in the life of one person counts”.
“It was never my plan to grow this large”, says Amna, “but by the grace of God we are now awaiting official approval to register Caring Canadians Society as a full-fledged charity. We are blessed to have the support of our Councillors, members of federal and provincial parliament have been part of our efforts and have supported us.”