When Khadra and her young family migrated to a small rural community from South Africa in 2013, she worked hard to integrate her children into a new and foreign culture. Chaplains like Wanda are trained and equipped to journey with families like Saara’s to help them thrive.
Wanda worked with Salma (Grade 4) and her sister, from their first day of school.
“There were some teasing and bullying issues. Some boys would tease them for wearing their hijab. I made sure [the girls] knew I was always there if they needed a safe person to talk to,” says Wanda.
For Khadra, she knew her daughters would face challenges.
“When my girls first arrived at school, they were practising Muslims and their accents were a bit different. Whenever a terrorist incident was on the news, my girls would feel the repercussions of that. Navigating differences like that in a school is hard, but chaplain Wanda was there for my children. She helped them feel a sense of belonging.”
Chaplain Wanda was a constant source of support for the family, including a source of spiritual support. A Muslim’s faith is central to their identity, which is why the family took comfort in knowing they had a safe person at school who could advocate for their spiritual and practical needs.
“Despite our different beliefs, there’s more focus on what’s the same about us. We formed a beautiful friendship and my girls felt comfortable with her as well,” Khadra says.
School chaplains are uniquely positioned to support young people from all faith backgrounds.
*Students names have been changed for privacy.