Meet CAP Alumnus Nayaelah Siddiqui

Nayaelah came to Canada with her family at the young age of thirteen. She says that as she grew up in Canada and integrated into Canadian society, she came to appreciate the country more and more. Nayaelah received her citizenship in 2014, completing her process in truly becoming a Canadian.

Nayaelah used her CAP card to visit local museums, but because she was working and going to school, she was unable to use it to travel that year. However, she since has been able to travel and has visited several museums, national parks and galleries. “I enjoy visiting cultural places as the diversity makes me feel welcome,” says Nayaelah, “I love learning from people of different cultural backgrounds.” She also encourages current CAP members to get out and use their CAP card during their first year of citizenship. “It’s a great way for new Canadians to explore the beauty of Canada,” says Nayaelah. “Canada has so much to offer, [and] it has really interesting people to learn from. With the Cultural Access Pass, Canadians can access those spaces and learn more about the country they live in.”

For Nayaelah, being an active citizen means giving back through volunteering and being active in one’s community. She has volunteered extensively, including tutoring youth, coaching children’s badminton, helping at fundraisers for different causes and spending time with seniors at a long-term care centre.

Now, at the age of only twenty-two, her main focus is running the non-profit organization that she started herself. Her organization, Empowerem, is a safe space initiative focused on providing marginalized, often racialized, newcomer Muslim female youth with programming that promotes social wellbeing, mental and physical health, and overall empowerment

“I am active in my community and love to help everyone – including people from other cultures – who share different practices and values from me,” says Nayaelah, “I think the best way to be Canadian is to give back to Canada in whatever way is possible for you.”

About CAP: For nearly 10 years, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) has delivered the Cultural Access Pass (CAP), an innovative, best-in-class program that gives new citizens access to Canadian culture. It’s time to shift CAP to the digital age. Support the ICC.

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