Kabir Hosein: Trinidad and Tobago
(photo: Kabir is surrounded by his family- Kabir is in the back row, far-left holding his daughter Kai)
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago which is the southernmost Caribbean Island.
What brought you to Canada and why did you choose to settle in Victoria?
My wife and I were both very senior in our careers and wanted to have more job growth and experience while giving our four children a better quality education and health care. This desire for a better life caused me to apply for opportunities in countries that we believed would be safe for our family. I received a job offer from the Sport for Life Society which is based in Victoria. My wife once visited Victoria for a day as she was an Umpire for a Pan American Field Hockey Championships based in Vancouver and the Umpires were treated to a ferry ride over to Victoria for a day. My wife thoroughly enjoyed that visit to downtown Victoria. So when the job offer came in she knew this was meant to be and we would flourish here.
Tell us a bit about you and your family.
I have been married to my wife Kecia Hosein for the last eight wonderful years. We have four loving and energetic kids. Kai (she/her), Kardian (he/him), Kameelah (she/her) and Kadira (she/her). Both my wife and I came from large extended families so our family gatherings were always huge and filled with good food and laughter.
What do you wish people understood better about your cultural heritage?
The Caribbean is a melting pot of diverse cultures that, in most cases, come together to create true beauty. Socializing often takes place around the sharing food, local drinks and general chatting which is known as a “Good Time”. Trinidad and Tobago became an Independent nation in August of 1962 from the British Monarchy and was previously ruled by the French, Spanish. It was originally inhabited by two main Amerindian populations called Carib and Arawak. Key attributes that define my fellow Caribbean brethren and sisters such as a good work ethic, sociable and compassionate comes from the cultural heritage of our ancestors who would have laid the pathway for us to follow with great dignity and humility.
What is your current profession? Why did you choose that as a career?
I am currently employed as the Senior Operations Manager at Sport for Life Society as my primary role. I also lead our organization when it comes to engaging Newcomers in Sport and Physical Activity.
I grew up in a life of sport and participated in many individual and team sports that molded me into the person I am today. I am very passionate about the life skills that sport can develop and would like to provide a more accessible pathway for Newcomers who seek equity access to sport and physical activity. Sport and physical activity can provide that sense of belonging to Victoria and other Provinces and Territories of Canada to all Newcomers.
As a newcomers, what do you appreciate about life in Victoria?
The vast beauty of mother nature that is respected and appreciated by residents of Victoria.
Victoria is a very law abiding community with a very physically active lifestyle.
My family and I have received genuine respect from others for our culture.
What have been challenges about adapting to life in Victoria as a newcomer?
While my wife and I applied for Permanent Residency to Canada when I received the job offer, we are currently operating on a Work Permit and International Student Visas for my kids. It has been a very tedious and, in some cases, frustrating process for my wife to gain meaningful employment.
In 2019 all citizens, and I believe permanent residents of B.C., no longer had to pay for their Medical Services Plan (MSP). While my wife and I no longer had to pay as well, my children who are on International Student Visas had to pay and are paying higher costs than before.
What do you miss about living in the Caribbean?
In addition to missing my family and friends, I miss the warm ocean water and the food culture. When I say food culture, we celebrate everything from huge achievements to minor ones with tasty and colorful dishes accompanied by laughter and gratitude through sharing of stories and experiences.
What are favourite things you and your family enjoy doing here in Victoria?
Recreation Parks and Recreation Facilities, they are way superior to what I grew up with in my country. The lakes and walking trails reminds us a lot about one of our favorite pass times which was going to the beach and playing in the sands and warm sea waters. Due to the Pandemic we were unable to go as a family to Butchart Gardens, but I have gone to visit and it is an amazing place. I cannot wait to take my family there!
What meaningful successes are you proud of in your professional career?
Contributing to towards an e-Learning site that creates awareness for Canadian Sport Clubs and Organizations around welcoming Newcomers to Sport and Physical Activities.
Being a member of the Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership who are researching, developing and implementing some amazing things that would benefit both Newcomers and Residents of Victoria.
Is Victoria is a welcoming and inclusive community? If not, why not? If yes, why?
Yes, I do believe Victoria is very welcoming and inclusive based on the experiences my family and I have had. The school system at the elementary and middle school level, access to health care, access to transportation and access to information are very much welcoming and efficient. There is room for improvement such as access to fresh produce, education and awareness of statutory holidays to better understand the relevance so that my family and I can celebrate it and feel included. Also, it would be helpful to have greater awareness and education around what the popular sports are here and how to access them.