My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. WOW offers a platform for us to celebrate this history and the future it will help…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
OLIP helps to unite and share scarce resources for greater impact by working together in the field of student education.

Walter Piovesan
Associate Director of Education, Ottawa Carleton District School Board

Helping a newcomer from A to Z

June 14, 2018

When Mitra Taravat and her husband Amir came to Ottawa in May 2016, there are countless ways that fellow Iranian expatriate Farhad Derakhshan made a difference in her journey.

“Farhad is such a great person that I can’t thank him enough,” explains Mitra. “He helped us from A to Z. Whenever we were faced with any kind of problem he was there to assist us. He helped my husband to find a job. He helped us to buy a house.”

Farhad Derakhshan and Mitra Taravat

While work was being done on Mitra and Amir’s house in preparation for them to move in, they found themselves without a place to stay as they had given up their apartment. “Farhad welcomed us into his home for three months, rent free, even though another Iranian family was staying with him. We were so happy to move into our new home last July!”

Mitra lost her father two years ago, so Farhad has become a father figure to her. “Farhad is like an angel with a pure soul,” adds Mitra.

Farhad knows first-hand how difficult the journey for an immigrant can be as he came to Canada as a refugee in 1984. He had lived in India for five years, but thought that Canada was his best choice for a new home. He appreciates the political freedom and diversity offered in this country.

Farhad is humbled by the Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador award. “I don’t need the acknowledgement from this type of award, but I do hope it encourages others to help newcomers,” he says. “I am proud of the culture we are building together as newcomers. We need to live together as a community and to focus less on consumerism and more on helping others to grow. Everyone has the power to change the world by their own actions.”

Farhad’s approach to life is well expressed by this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”