Afsana Nodrat, Community Support Worker graduate, Herzing College WinnipegHave you ever felt certain that you have something truly meaningful to offer the world—but you're trapped in a job or life-role that is crushing your spirit and holding you back?
Every year, thousands of Canadians face this dilemma. They find themselves at a cross-roads: one path means continuing with things as they are, and the other path means tackling real challenges to achieve something better—something more.
Herzing graduate, Afsana Nodrat chose the second path. She overcame some of most profound obstacles one can imagine to complete her education, and take her place as a highly respected community support worker in Winnipeg.
Afsana's story is so moving, she was profiled in the most recent issue of Career Connections, the official magazine of Canada's National Association of Career Colleges (NACC).
We are proud to present the highlights of that story.
Facing the Hurtles of War, Early Marriage & Domestic Abuse
The deck was stacked against Afsana early in life. Before she'd finished the 9th grade, her education came to an abrupt end when the school she attended was bombed and destroyed—caught in the crossfire of the long and brutal war in Afghanistan.
With no access to other schools, Afsana was quickly married. She and her husband fled to nearby Pakistan as refugees, and shortly after, traveled to Canada and settled in Winnipeg.
It took 10 years for Afsana to convince an unsupportive (and ultimately abusive) husband that she could finish her high school education while looking after their home and children. She was motivated by a powerful desire for financial independence from her husband—and to find a career with meaning and purpose.
Afsana says the tipping point came when her husband taunted her, saying she could never leave him because she had no education, no training, and no means of supporting herself and her children. "I took his negative comments as a challenge and enrolled in Herzing's Community Support Worker program."
Afsana left her husband and moved into a shelter with her children, where she began to re-make her life with the help of dedicated social workers—fueling her interest in social services and shaping her own future career path.
Afsana "Pays it Forward" with Community Support Worker Training
Afsana's decision to pursue Community Support Worker training came from her direct experience with professionals in the field, and the tremendous impact they made in her own life.
She reflects, "I chose this particular program because I knew I really wanted to do front-line work in the community to help make a difference in people's lives– just like the many people who helped me as I began to shape a new life for my children and myself."
Afsana says she chose Herzing because they understood, and worked around, her unique challenges: "The program at Herzing was perfect for me because they offer flexible course times and a very supportive environment—so I could fit classes in around the needs of my family"
Empowerment, career options, self-confidence, independence— Afsana gained all of this through community support resources in Winnipeg, and now she "pays it forward" to others who need specialized assistance to achieve their goals.
Achieving Professional Success & Setting New Educational Goals
Since graduating from Herzing's Community Support Worker program, Afsana has had no trouble securing work in her field. She works part-time with Sara Riel Inc, at the Seneca Respite Service—a program for adults struggling with mental health issues.
Afsana also puts in full-time hours at the Canadian Mental Health Association , Manitoba and Winnipeg Region, as a peer outreach worker.
But she's not done pursuing her dream of higher education. Afsana is now enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work program at the University of Manitoba. She is determined to keep learning, developing greater expertise to advance knowledge in her field and rise upward in her career.
What is she most proud of so far? The respect for education and community service she has instilled in her children. She says, "my journey has led them to value their education and the oldest are attending university now. We shared the same experiences and they too want to work in careers that help people."
Herzing is proud of you, Afsana! You are an inspiration to all people who strive to reach their full potential, no matter what obstacles stand in their way. We wish you continued success and happiness, and look forward to your next campus visit.
Read the full article about Afsana Nodrat on page 16 of Career Connections
Looking for more information about Herzing's Community Support Worker diploma?