Meet Our New IAR Members
November 28, 2018

Since its inception, the Surrey Immigrant Advisory Roundtable (IAR) has defied all the stereotypes we might have about Advisory Committees. The group was formed in 2015 to represent ‘authentic newcomer voices” in the work of Surrey Local Immigration Partnership but instead of being an ‘advisory body’ that represents different cultures, the IAR speaks to us through the language of true community engagement.

From organizing community events and moderating Inclusive City Cafes to applying for grants and doing presentations and advocating to decision makers, the members of the Surrey IAR have become known as inspiring community ambassadors who walk the talk in creating a more inclusive and welcoming Surrey.

The group is composed of nineteen immigrant and refugee residents who bring their unique immigration and personal backgrounds and share their passion for Surrey where everyone belongs. The members of the IAR come from 15 different countries, speak over 18 languages and represent different generations from a 16-year old to a member who is over 60.

This fall, seven new members have joined the Surrey IAR and brought their unique experiences and passions to the group.

  • Anuja Sawant, an environmentalist from India, is interested in debunking the myth of Surrey as an unsafe city.
  • Dacious Richardson, a community enthusiast from Liberia and Jessica Sabenecio, a financial specialist from Philippines, are keen on building better bridges between newcomer youth and recreational opportunities in the city.
  • Kristi Pinderi, a journalist and community activist from Albania, is passionate about improving access to information for newcomers in Surrey.
  • Qaiser Jamil, an HR specialist from Pakistan, is a huge advocate for mentoring programs which have helped him to land a job in Canada.
  • Simar Pabla, originally from India, Simar is now  a career specialist in Surrey; Simar is strongly advocating for better collaboration between IAR and other groups/partners in Surrey
  • Zhan-Zhan Ge, originally from China; Zhan-Zhan is still in high school but who has been active in the community since he was 12 when he successfully applied for Neighbourhood Small Grants.

We invite you to read more about new members of the Surrey IAR and get inspired by their visions for welcoming and inclusive Surrey.