Narine Dat Sookram
2015 Public Peace Prize Finalist in the Local Peacemaker category
Narine Dat Sookram of Kitchener, Ontario, has been an excellent role model for the immigrant population in Canada. Last year he was named one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants for the continued support he has offered to other immigrants for more than twenty years. His attitude is one of acceptance and openness towards all, rich or poor, regardless of their social status. He makes everyone feel special and worthy by bringing out strengths that people often don’t know they have.
He has exceptional mentoring skills which he uses to help business women in third world countries as well as internationally trained professionals here in Canada. In 2013, Sookram received the World of Difference 100 Award, making him the first North American to receive this honour in the category of Championing Women’s Economic Empowerment. (http://www.tiaw.org/?page=current_woda_winner)
As soon as he migrated from Guyana some two decades ago, he formed a non-profit organization as a continuation of a group he’d founded in Guyana. At the young age of 14, he started a youth group to bring kids together to share ideas so that everyone could contribute to building a better village. The organization in Canada aims to help school children in Guyana and to promote its rich cultural heritage here, and is called Active Vision Charity Association. One of the schools in Guyana has named their library after his organization.
Narine Dat Sookram is a registered social services worker whose people skills allow him to communicate with people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. He spends his free time teaching newcomers to Canada how to drive, so that they can become independent and help themselves and their communities. He has spent many years mentoring immigrants and helping them to get their credentials evaluated to Canadian standards. He helps with resumes, cover letters and offers free job coaching. Narine Dat Sookram is widely recognized for his impact on the underprivileged through his weekly column in the Guyana Times newspaper, and his weekly radio show. His listeners connect deeply with his writings and the stories he tells.
To celebrate the Caribbean West Indian Culture, Sookram initiated the Caribbean Dreams concert in Kitchener, Ontario, where young artists can showcase their talent. What is most unique about this event is that people from all cultures celebrate in one room, beyond barriers caused by cultural differences. Craig Norris from CBC Radio, whose job involves attending and reporting on 10 events per month, says the Caribbean Dreams community concert is one of the best he has ever seen.
Narine Dat Sookram’s community work is proof that you don’t have to hold a position of power to make positive changes in others’ lives. He has influenced thousands of people from different parts of the globe over the years, due to his character, his determination for solidarity, and his commitment to peace in his community.