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Living Library


Living Library 2024

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A Pain Turned Into Power

I would like to share my story since I was a child, how I was able to overcome the responsibilities being an eldest daughter and a sister. Life was difficult because I came from a poor family and I felt that I shoulder all the responsibilities of the whole family to survive. The struggle for me to finish my education was also tough but luckily I was able to finish my studies. Many struggles, pressure and pain I need to go through but all the sacrifices were worth it. I though my battles will end in finishing my studies but after I got married another battle I need to fight but unluckily its not worthy anymore to fight for no matter how I want to fix it. Life must go on.


Being Brown, Having a Disability, and Fighting the Gossiping Aunties 

Born with Cerebral Palsy, I’ve always had others tell me what my capabilities and abilities were or were not. In addition to that, I grew up in what can sometimes be an ‘extremely judgmental’ South Asian community. However, I was born with the natural talents of being sarcastic and stubborn. I would not let others (especially those gossiping Aunties) decide for me what my life would be, or where my path would one day take me. My story is about staying true to who you are, embracing humour and sarcasm, and breaking barriers along the way; and allowing no one but myself to define my capabilities, abilities, or the existence of my disabilities… especially not the gossiping Aunties.



The Story Behind My Little Red Wagon Storybook & Garden Kit

I was diagnosed with a learning disability of reading and writing the 2nd year attending NorQuest College. It's always been a dream of mine to become an author but how do you have a dream like that when you couldn't read or write very well. It was also a dream of mine to get my education but couldn't figure out why it was so difficult for me to learn, I thought it was from my hectic life experiences that held me back. NorQuest changed my life.

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Queering the Prairies

We are all shaped by the communities we grow up in but what happens when the structure of those communities, the patterns of behaviour they espouse, are less a reflection of who you are but of who you are not? This poly-curious, bisexual queer book recounts how growing up in the 'bible-belt' of Canada left her wondering for many years why she has felt out of step with life as it unfolds around her.

Finding My Way as a Person with Visual Impairment from Albinism

I have lived my entire life with low vision and white hair, resulting from a genetic condition called Albinism, I am now noticing in my wiser years that many of my friends and acquaintances are joining the low vision / white hair club:) I may have some tips to offer at least on the visual impairment front. I have moved through being teased for having white hair as a child to being embraced for having white hair as a presumed punk rocker in my teens to now when folks think my white hair is age related. Rarely do people fully understand why I am the way I am. It can be hard being a square peg trying to fit into society's round holes but it can also make you flexible, creative and determined. Come join me and I will share how I navigate my way physically, socially and emotionally through the sighted world.

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Got an F in Gender: A Nonbinary Translation   

A homeschooled kid, a nonbinary adult, a neurodivergent immigrant and a queer Hindu walked into a bar. I couldn't help it; I've always been clumsy that way. The language of queerness - both in sexuality and in oddness - is a delightful tangle of political, religious and historical words and silences. Join me and let's talk about intersections of externalized identity and internal self, why they're complicated, and what happens when they collide across any of these axes.

A Story of Loss, Rebound, & Leadership

The loss of a father when he was age 47 – myself 22 and my sister 16 – was a very trying time for our family and myself personally, but holding onto what my Dad gifted me with his versatility, the way he made people feel, and his ability to roll with the punches life throws at you has influenced all aspects of my life – particularly my leadership journey. In my story I’ll share an experience of loss, how I personally rebounded, some of the challenges and hurdles along the way, and why I ultimately do what I do today.

From Passionate to Compassionate

Fighting with patriarchy since my childhood, I had become tough skinned who wanted to prove to the world that girls are no less than boys. So passionate and focused that I didn't even take a break when my son was born; I started working again when he was about a month old. Being young, I didn't even realize that the passion for proving something to the world was taking away all the womanliness out of me. For all those years, I just kept drowning in. And then we moved to Canada for a better life! It was a wake up call in so many ways. First, from being a professor in India to a salesperson and then a security guard, I learnt humility and respect for all the professions which is something we never learnt in India. Second, I spent a lot of time with my son, who was 5 at the time. The fulfilment I achieved from being a mom was miraculous. It seemed that all the empty columns in my heart started filling to the brim. Third, the diversity Canada presented was unbelievable for me. The love I received and shared with all the people I met gave new meanings to human existence. It was due to all this that I have started believing in the compassionate side of me more than anything else. With all this love, acceptance and humility, I got back on my feet again and trained to be an ESL teacher. The Norquest community helps me become a more compassionate person everyday!

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Navigating Immigration: Sink or Swim! 

As a first generation Canadian, one often faces a gamut of unforeseen challenges including the complexities of the immigration system itself, a new culture and language and a foreign educational system. New in Canada and extremely overwhelmed, I quickly realized that translating my profession from my home country would be an arduous process. No one told me about this before, in fact, I was 'recruited' from my home country to be a pharmacist. Why are there a zillion steps to translating my credentials? Will I ever be a pharmacist again? How do I explain to my family back home that I am no longer what I trained to be? My African parents had heard of people immigrating and losing track of themselves completely. They had also heard of others overcoming the odds. Which group would I belong to? I had no answers. I will be sharing a story of hope, a story of making compromises, a story of resilience, adaptability and overcoming the odds.

Lost at Sea: A story of PTSD, Chronic Illness, and Transitioning in Rural Nova Scotia

At 3 years old I asked to be a baseball for Halloween, at 9 I was the only girl on the all boys baseball team, and at 13 I told my family I was different. By the time I was 17 I was forced to pack up my life and move across the country to be myself, my transition and the other factors I have faced have not been easy to overcome but I am the person I am today because of it. 

Knowing Myself & My Impact

The demon lies within" – My story is a tale of self-discovery. When I was 13, I daydreamed of travelling and making a life in a place not known to me. It was a time before travel blogging was a "thing". I was almost able to manifest my dreams by my mid-twenties, but with those dreams a question lingered: “am I good enough to even expect such a thing from life?” It was a time in my life where I connected with the darkness and protection of the colour black. I never knew what a mentor was, so I became one for myself. I feel I am still lost, but moving in the right direction. To date, I have lived and worked in 6 cities around the world and travelled to more than 30. And these days, I connect with the colour Olive green.

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Invisibly Ill and Chronically Chill  

People living with chronic illness and disabilities are required to learn how to exist in a world built for able-bodied folks. Accessibility continues to be enhanced as the years progress, but what happens when your disability is invisible? I have experienced unwanted attention from unknowing passersby when I use disability aids, which at times leads me to experience imposter syndrome. Between starring eyes, the socioeconomical implications of being disabled in a capitalist society, and unsolicited health advice from your second cousin, I've seen it all as an invisibly ill person. Join me to learn how I manage to keep my chill despite being chronically ill.