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Born in Dubai, UAE |

For Sahar, it was a divorce from an abusive husband that became the catalyst for a new life. Leaving the UAE, Sahar decided to follow her dream and start helping people, specifically women and children. Upon arriving in Toronto, she felt as if she “finally belonged somewhere,” describing her new home as a “genuine city that does not revolve around materialism”. Sahar feels that she can practice her religion freely and pursue her interest in the social sector, something that she could not do as anything more than a hobby in the UAE. Once in Canada, Sahar pursued a formal education in non-profit management, and is currently working as a project manager in the Violence Against Women sector.

Toronto as Home

Sahar wanted to be photographed specifically on the balcony of her sister’s downtown condo. After arriving in Toronto, Sahar lived at her sister’s for a month and a half until she found her own place.  She spent many evenings on the balcony, staring out, planning for the future, and healing from past betrayals.

“It is here on the balcony that I finally smiled, felt alive, and was free.”

Connection with the Past

Following her divorce, Sahar started reading her father’s copy of Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness. She explained how this book looks critically at the pressure society puts on us to behave in a certain manner in order to be happy.

“The book helped me realize that I did not have to be married to the right family and play the dutiful housewife with a car and a house to be happy.”

It is clear that the text was as important to her father as it is to her, and its missing cover, loose pages and underlined passages are a testament to the love a father and daughter share for the book.

Sahar is also a speaker with the Passages Canada storytelling initiative. Check out her profile here.

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