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Maryam Al-Azazi running "Power Up", a computer literacy class for females in  IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba).

Maryam Al-Azazi running "Power Up", a computer literacy class for females in IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba).

Nahlah Ayed Prize winners know why they are here: to make the world better

If you ever have the opportunity to speak with Maryam Al-Azazi or Obasesam Okoi, do. In less than five minutes they will make you want to improve the world in some way.

They are this year’s recipients of the Nahlah Ayed prize.

“I started to cry when I heard I won,” Al-Azazi says. “It’s just like when you do a lot of things because you are passionate about them but then you get this pat on the back, this feeling of being acknowledged.”

Okoi, known as “Sam” to his friends, echoed these sentiments: “I was very excited because it is an acknowledgement of the little things I have done. You know, sometimes you don’t know the impact of what you’re doing. But if people who are watching you can attest to your effort to make a little difference in the lives of others, it feels really good. So when I received the email I said, ‘wait a minute, what’s going on!’ I had to read it again. I’m grateful. I’m really grateful.”

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