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“i know i can’t save the world but if i can make it a tiny bit better for a few people during my passage here that would be a great accomplishment.”
seynabou is 42 and is a senior project management consultant specialized in health informatics. she dedicates much of her time to volunteering; for the past 10 years she has volunteered in the downtown eastside (where she is pictured), an area of vancouver known for high levels of drug use, poverty, and homelessness. she told me, “initially i was involved in a monthly lunch program but in the last 4 years i have been mainly focused on working with the downton eastside neighborhood house (dtesnh) as a board member and fundraising committee member. since 2015, we have also been organizing an annual iftaar dinner at the dtesnh during ramadan. it started as a collaboration with a group of muslim friends and has now morphed into a partnership with the vancouver madinah youth group in the last 2 years.” seynabou has also for the past 8 years been volunteering for various initiatives related to the fight against cancer. when i asked seynabou what her own favourite quality is she told me, “i am a good planner. it all started since i was about 10 years old and decided to plan my grandparents’ visit. i had drawn an airplane with the words ’they are arriving’ as the first item of the schedule.” when seynabou is not making an impact to the vancouver community through her work or volunteering, she loves finding time in her schedule to be exposed to different cultures and sceneries through travel. her favorite place to find herself is near the water for how it makes her feel soothed and reinvigorated at the same time. her proudest achievement is “living [her] life with integrity and dignity because these are important values [her] parents and grandparents instilled in [her].”

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Combatting negative stereotypes of Muslim women by showcasing the diverse & inspirational stories of them Concept, photos & words by @aliayphotography