Congratulations to Homes First board member Chantal Desloges, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The medal, awarded by the Governor General, recognizes outstanding contributions made by Canadians through community service. Nominated by the Canadian Christian Association, Chantal’s work as an immigration and refugee lawyer extends beyond the call of duty. For years she’s provided her services pro bono to help members of the South Asian community flee religious persecution. She is recognized by the government as an expert on religious minority issues and on several occasions has been invited to testify at Parliamentary committees concerning legislation and issues affecting immigrants and refugees. Her involvement led to a W5 (CTV) documentary on bringing a Pakistani family under religious persecution to Canada, which also brought a lot of much needed attention to the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan. She frequently attends and is a spokesperson at South Asian community events.
Receiving a medal for her community service work has caught Chantal by surprise. Although humbling, she volunteers her time because she feels contributing in any way she can is intrinsically valuable. “Community service is something people should do without thinking of being recognized for it”, she says. “You go through life and do what you do and you get your satisfaction from that- you never expect to get rewarded for it”. Chantal has a deep rooted belief that we need to use the gifts we are given to not only benefit our own lives, but to also help our fellow citizens. She encourages others to use the skills they have to contribute in their community.