#12. Sukaina Dada: Removing Barriers & Creating Inclusion - Founder of SMILE
Play • 59 min

Sukaina Dada is the founder of SMILE Canada, an organization dedicated to supporting children and families in the Muslim community living with disabilities.

A mother of two, Sukaina is passionate about helping Muslim communities become physically, socially accessible and inclusive. She is also the author the book, “A Bedtime Prayer for Peace”, an award-winning children's book inspired by a personal experience.

In 2009, Sukaina conducted an academic study that examined the lived experiences of Muslim families who had children living with developmental and physical disabilities. The results of the study highlighted several challenges faced by minority communities in Canada, including the various Muslim communities. This laid the foundation of SMILE's mission over the next few years. Today, SMILE has over 200 volunteers, serves over 150 families in Toronto and provides support to new refugees arriving in Canada. The charity organises a wide range of events from parental education workshops, sporting events, community lectures, hospital Eid visits and much more.

Sukaina shares a personal story of a family member with disabilities and seeing the difficulties the family experienced settling in to a new country, whilst navigating healthcare system and integrating with the local Muslim community. This highlighted to her the need to provide a service which raises awareness about disabilities within Muslim communities and supports families who have children with disabilities.

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