WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2014
Rosmin Bhanji was born in East Africa and moved to Canada at the age of 18. She is married with 2 children, and has 2 grandchildren. At the age of 34, Rosmin chose to pursue a career in Social work. She graduated from the University of Calgary in 1995 with a Bachelor of Social Work. For ten years, she worked with the Alberta Government and volunteered for years assisting newcomers to Canada. Her love for working with refugees took her to Afghanistan where she spent ten years working and volunteering in the most challenging contexts. In 2010, she returned to Canada to pursue her Master of Social Work at McMaster University where her depth of experience in community development, poverty reduction, capacity building enriched her academic work and contributed enormously to others’ learning as she shared generously her knowledge and insights into the challenges of leadership in International aid work.
Rosmin has received an Outstanding Community Service Award (1995) from the Aga khan Education Board in Calgary and a University transfer scholarship to both UCalgary (1991) and McMaster University (2010). She was profiled in the Canadian Ismaili Magazine (2009) as well as in the McMaster University Social Science website (2011). Her passion for helping refugee women in Canada and her work in Afghanistan led her thesis research, “Resiliency amidst the fragmented lives of Afghan Refugee Women” that analyzed the lived experiences of refugee women. Her findings have direct relevance to women’s, refugee, ethnic and migration studies.
Rosmin has volunteered countless hours in Calgary and internationally. In her international work, she coordinated a Community Case Worker program, mentoring 30 workers to assist over 60,000 refugees returning back to Afghanistan. Her commitment to others' welfare led her to manage an opioid addiction program where she played a profound role in building capacity of the local staff and rehabilitated three villages. Today, the program has covered over 60 villages and continues to be very successful. The unique pilot project has decreased the relapse rate of the patients from 90 per cent to less than 30 per cent. More recently, when she visited Afghanistan after her post-graduate studies to assist with program evaluation, she realized the need for a centre in one of the poorest areas of Kabul and decided to stay for another year to fund and assist in starting a centre for ultra-poor women and their children.