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KCR: Volunteers build multicultural understanding

These columns are contributed by the KCR Community Resources

Hamid Butt is a man that can’t stay still for long. Both in his career and volunteer work, Hamid builds connections that help to build community. I first met Hamid in late 2015 when he and his wife Anne had retired to the Okanagan the previous year. His retired “life of leisure” was short-lived however as Hamid had already taken on a new job with the City of Kelowna on a contract basis and was also very busy helping with the welcoming and settlement of the large influx of Syrians through the refugee programs.

Over eight years later, Hamid is still working with the City as a senior project manager and his volunteer schedule keeps expanding also. He has been a key volunteer with the Kelowna Islamic Centre, helping to raise funds and build the new Masjid AS-Salaam that was opened in July 2018 as the previous Mosque had become too small. Officially a part of the BC Muslim Association – Kelowna Branch, the Kelowna Islamic Centre is vital to its members, but it is also a key part of the overall Kelowna community. Their mission is “The BCMA, Kelowna Branch is a non-profit organization of Muslims dedicated to worship, educate and service the community in Kelowna area” and their vision Together we will strive to be united, vibrant, contributing and participating Muslim congregation of Kelowna, BC – Insha’Allah.”

Hamid has been active in encouraging community connections through events such as the Open Mosque Day and Sacred Spaces Tour and also by having members of the Muslim congregation volunteer in the community with other organizations like the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

“I volunteer at the Islamic Centre in many different capacities,” says Hamid. “I have coordinated multicultural events for the different groups of our congregation.”

“Volunteering is my way to give back to the community,” continues Hamid. “It makes me feel like I am a contributing member of the society and gives me a purpose in life. Assisting others is self-rewarding.”

For over thirty years Hamid and Anne lived in Fort McMurray, where Hamid worked in the Oil Sands Industry and they raised their children there. They are proud grandparents of nine grandchildren.

Hamid has been volunteering for over 40 year because it makes him feel happy and satisfied. He recognizes that volunteering helps him to be considerate and compassionate with others.

“Don’t judge them as you don’t know their situation and circumstances,” says Hamid. “Be grateful to God Almighty for His blessings and bounty and share it with others. “

“Treat others as you would expect to be treated,” continues Hamid. “There is a lot to learn from others. Stay calm and focused and don’t expect any reward or return from anyone.”

Hamid is inspiring in his dedication to his faith, his family and his community and is always available to build understanding and community with all faiths and people and we are fortunate that he chose to “retire” in the Okanagan.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at

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