If you ask anyone about Humaira Saleem, one of the first things you’ll hear is something like, “The girl who climbed Everest last year!” Positive or not, Humaira is now known for some of her extraordinary accomplishments. Intrigued to know more about the girl who climbed Mount Everest, Lanterns set off to interview one of our daring and enthusiastic youth community leaders. What motivates Humaira to take these challenges? Is it a need for thrill? Or is there a deeper and genuine passion that drives Humaira to help society in any way possible?
Originally born in Afghanistan, Humaira’s family moved to Pakistan in her infancy. After spending 13 years in Pakistan, they immigrated to Canada where Humaira started high school at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough.
After completing High School, Humaira accepted an offer from the University of Toronto – Scarborough Campus (UTSC) for their Paramedicine Program. Being one of the first few minorities in the program, Humaira had to adjust to a new environment in addition to the challenges of the program itself. She says, “Believe it or not, I did not make it through the first year of paramedic training. But I tried again and I am ever so happy to have made that decision on the first day of classes after returning from a difficult summer.”
A week after graduating, Humaira was offered a position with the Hamilton Paramedic Services. A year later, she also began working with Halton Region Paramedic Services. “Being a paramedic is an eye-opener to say the least,” Humaira notes. “It grants you a glimpse of reality, having witnessed people at their worst, and makes you more grateful, humble, and understanding.”
Alongside Humaira’s full time job as a paramedic, she has been passionately involved with the Muslim community and has helped out with Reviving the Islamic Spirit, MuslimFest, Islamic Relief, Charity Week, and many other independent relief projects!
When asked about her passion Humaira said, “My biggest passion in life is serving others because one way to serve Allah (swt), after and along with completing the core obligatory acts, is to serve Him by serving others as the Quran says: Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to kindred… [Quran 16:9].”
Most recently, Humaira journeyed with a group to climb to the Mount Everest Base Camp. She did this as part of Islamic Relief Canada’s international challenges to raise money for their Orphan Sponsorship Program. Each member had to raise $5,500 for orphan sponsorship and climb to the Everest Base Camp at a height of 5,346m above sea level. Humaira describes her experience as “Simply exhilarating!”
Next year, Humaira is off to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania! Help Humaira reach her goal of raising $6,000 for Orphan Sponsorship! See her page here.
When asked what advice she would give for our next generation Humaira said, “Get involved in the community! Volunteering is a great way to network, gain a vast variety of experiences, and give back to the community.” Humaira further emphasizes that youth have incredible potential and asks youth to “Challenge yourself, put yourself in situations that you don’t feel comfortable in, push the boundaries and just watch…you’ll thrive and surprise yourself! Because leaders aren’t born, they’re made.
Humaira truly believes in community involvement and leads by example by serving both the Muslim community – through various volunteer initiatives – and the wider Canadian society – through her profession. Humaira truly personifies the spirit of khidma (service).