Excellence in Community Service

Jebunnessa Chapola, a doctoral student at the University of Saskatchewan in Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies wins the 2017 Excellence in Community Service Award.

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photo credit: Khaleda Parvin

Jebunnessa Chapola, a doctoral student at the University of Saskatchewan in Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies and she is a mom of two young daughters. She is an extra-ordinarily community engaged scholar, community builder, leader, activist, volunteer who is mentoring and impacting so many newcomers’ lives and she has given freely and tirelessly of herself and she is actively supported newcomers, international students to reduce barriers to integration through community engagements. Jebunnessa advocates for achieving intersectional gender and social justice. She is at once a researcher, activist and cultural performer - personifies multicultural values through living out the five multicultural streams of Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections, and Integration. She is also committed to linking newcomer women with the Aboriginal community, engaging the lessons of Canadian history to create belongingness across groups. 

Community engaged learnings through her volunteer work are real and it impacts grassroots people's lives and herself her life has proven the truth. Her voluntarily taken community building initiatives impacted the diasporic immigrant community and community at a large as well. She is an advocate of talking about the importance of anti-racist education because she believes that this education works to dismantle the problematic ideologies, oppressive policies and practices which maintains unequal distribution of social power. She firmly believes that anti-racist education will help people to speak up against the normalised institutional and structural oppressions and racism. Through her university community gardening work, community radio show at CFCR, multi-dimensional cultural performances, anti-racist workshops, President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women Consultation (PCASW) research work, she is creating so much changes around the U of S campus and community at a large. 

Jebunnessa Chapola has dedicated herself to cultural continuity through her involvement with vocal performances, music – both as a performer and trainer which she founded for the community development six years ago. She is also the founder of a weekly radio show which provides heritage language programming as well as information on very diverse topics often, related to anti-racism, building relationships with other cultures, international student’s/ newcomers integration challenges and how to overcome those barriers and also about mental health awareness.  She engages U of S students, faculties and community educators, leaders in her show regularly since last four years where she engaged her partner and own daughters regularly.

In addition, Jebunnessa has also served as the Graduate Student's Association VP Academic in 2015-2016 as a student leader. She was nominated among the YWCA women of distinction in the category of community building in 2015 and she is also the winner of CBC future 40 in Community, Social Activism, Volunteerism category. She is also the provincial Betty Szuchewycz award recipient for her excellence in community services and multicultural work.