Congratulations to Halie, Kerri, and Maryam: Recipients of the Soroptimist International of Vancouver’s Live Your Dream Award 2024


Maryam Bagzada

Back in her home country of Afghanistan, Maryam stood out in her community as a representative for women’s rights – particularly for education. She was able to secure a scholarship to UBC where she is in her final year of a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in commerce. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, her family (particularly her mother) were targeted and they endured much physical and psychological trauma. With the help of her UBC professor, she lobbied for and was successful in achieving refugee status – and they came to Canada with nothing but their passports. Due to trauma and language barriers, they have been unable to find consistent employment. So, Maryam has supported her family (three siblings and parents) through 3 part time jobs while maintaining a high GPA. Her career goal is to be successful in the fintech industry. Oh – and she speaks 4 languages (the latest being the English she has learned since coming to Canada.

Halie Hunter

Halie has overcome tremendous odds. From a young age, she has faced extraordinary challenges – shouldering the weight of her parent’s severe mental illness while taking on the responsibility of raising her younger brother. Her journey was marked by enduring abuse, living in poverty, and facing the devastating impact of two house fires, leaving both visible and hidden scars. At thirteen years old, the turbulence of foster care became their reality. After aging out of foster care, Halie, now a young mother, and with a partner who lives with a debilitating chronic illness, became the sole wage earner in her family. She sought solace in helping others which lead to her enrolling in the Child and Youth Care Program at Douglas College. After graduation Halie hopes to work for the Representative for Children and Youth, advocating for positive changes for children in government care.

Kerri Moore