Blog | Intercultural Development | Centre For Excellence

Working the Field of Dreams

The Intercultural Centre (IC) first met Mohamed El Daher in the fall of 2018. Mohamed delivered a Learner Insights workshop about his journey of settling in Calgary as a Syrian refugee and fulfilling his dream of farming here.

All who attended were moved and inspired by Mohamed’s story. Read more about Mohamed’s workshop here. As part of the IC’s commitment to connecting to community, and in support of a BVC alumni member, the IC’s ICan Crew volunteer program chose to spend a day helping the El Daher family at their farm. On July 23, fourteen ICan Crew volunteers and BVC staff drove out to the El Daher farm east of Calgary to be put to work as manual laborers! Donned with hats, sunscreen, and work gloves, volunteers worked tirelessly for five hours to weed over two acres of land. One volunteer remarked, “I can’t believe that Mohamed and his family manage this whole farm on their own!” Another volunteer said, “It feels so good to be out here, working the earth and helping this family.”

Mohamed’s ten acre farm boasts crops of Arabic zucchini, eggplant, fava beans, okra, tomatoes and more. Volunteers also harvested lettuce and spinach for a Calgary Food Bank donation. Bow Valley College School of Global Access instructor, Shelley McConnell, and volunteer, Mimi Tang, delivered the donation to the Food Bank accompanied by Mohamed and his family. This is now the third year that Mohamed has donated produce to the Calgary Food Bank. It has been a way for him to show his gratitude for the help that he received from the Food Bank when he first arrived with his family in Calgary.

On a day of 28C and no shade, volunteers were thrilled to receive a bag lunch, treats and water bottles donated by Sodexo, Bow Valley College’s food service provider. Sodexo also made this volunteer opportunity possible by covering the bussing cost to and from the El Daher Farm. What a day it was! Mohamed was very appreciative of the work that the volunteers did. It was a great communal effort on everyone’s part. Volunteers left hot, dirty and very pleased with their contributions. To view photos of this day, visit the Intercultural Centre’s photo gallery.