About Sam Jisri
Sam Jisri is the Executive Director of SAV – Syrian Active Volunteers, a non-profit organization dedicated to aid incoming refugees and immigrants settling in the Greater Toronto Area. Before SAV, Jisri traveled to Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey and Jordan to volunteer his time to provide support for those who fled their war-torn countries; he translated for news outlets and raised awareness about the conditions of the refugees. Jisri also actively blogged to provide a platform for the vulnerable to voice their narratives and experiences. Mclean’s Magazine gave Sam Jisri the wonderful chance to film his daily voluntary work in details and he revieved an honour from Costi immigration for his work. Later on that same year, SAV was accredited by the Governor-general of Canada.
Previously, Jisri operated an Instructional Centre specializing in computer and graphic studies in 2001 called the Canadian-Certified-Computer-Training, CCCT. He opened the largest Center for computer sale and maintenance in Mississauga, Smart Buy Company. His other positions include working as an art director in the 360 virtual tour department at the international company, IPIX and also as an instructor at the Arts and Graphic institution. Now, Jisri spends his time working on expanding SAV to aid and support from immigrants and refugees. Up to present day, SAV has aided over 6000 Syrian Refugees.
As an entrepreneur, teacher, humanitarian and manager, the following accomplishments have allowed Sam Jisri to equip himself with the necessary skills required to build an organization that helped and supported the incoming refugees and immigrants settling in Mississauga, ON, specifically. Sam had a vision to help those in need and by January of 2016, that vision started to become a reality.
In 2015, after experiencing life as an activist, Sam merged into the political sphere and assisted in the parliamentary elections while establishing a SAV [Syrian Active Volunteers] – a non-profit organization for voluntary work before Syrian Refugees were due to come into Canada. By December of 2015, Sam had established a sizable Centre for accepting donations including various clothing, shoes, non-perishable food items and various items for infants. Sam was honored to have been amongst those who welcomed the Syrian Refugees to Toronto. To
help them start their lives in a completely different country, many volunteers, including Sam, provided transportation services, translation and generally creating a support system for the newcomers. Sam also founded, with many others, the Syrian Advisory Council and is currently also a member.
January of 2016, Sam expanded SAV [Syrian Active Volunteers] to include more than 400 volunteers for relief and voluntary work in areas such as translation, social relations, settling, and transportation. Sam was involved organizing an open press conference which welcomed more than 14 media stations discussing the Syrian refugees’ lives and current situation. Around February, SAV organization was officially registered as a legitimate nonprofit organization. A while later, Sam was honoured with the title of the executive director of SAV. In March, Mclean’s Magazine gave Sam Jisri the wonderful chance to film his daily voluntary work in details.
Afterward around March still, Sam focused his attention and began vast workshops to provide entertainment programs dedicated to refugee children. Coming into April, Sam was interviewed plenty of times by ministers of governmental agencies to discuss the refugees’ conditions and affairs which was a huge privilege. Moreover, SAV was effectively transferred to its present location where it expanded to increase and broaden their helping services. In May, Costi immigration honored Sam Jisri and almost as proof of this honour, SAV was accredited by the official governor general of Canada.
During June, Sam Jisri along with many volunteers all as a team worked on organizing a massive Ramadan project, Ramadan Baskets. In this project, the goal was to provide Syrians with food essentials for the month of Ramadan. It was expected to be a success but this was beyond what they had hoped for as so many Syrian families benefited. In fact, more than a 1000 Ramadan baskets were given out to 500 families. The baskets were delivered to the families’ doorsteps as a gift under Sam’s supervision.
Before SAV, until 2014, Sam continued to work as a relief activist and media operator. During this time, he focused his attention on providing platforms for those who weren’t having their voices heard such as vulnerable women and children. He did this in the hopes that the World would stop ignoring these narratives and work harder to relieve their suffering.
In 2011, Sam used blogging as a tool to actively support and provide for the refugees fleeing due to war and thus, lack of access to shelter and food. He took on the task of traveling to the Syrian-Turkish border alongside Freedom Convoy with one goal in mind and heart: provide access to food and medication to those who had to flee to Gaziantep, Turkey due to being affected by war. It wasn’t only this goal that got Sam and the people he worked with through past the Syrian border, it was their resilience that got them through when the government refused to let them provide aid. They went on strike and remained in severe winter conditions as a manifestation of their unwavering support for the refugees.
Sam then continued to volunteer in Syrian refugee camps in Turkey to provide support, a listening ear and someone to just be there for them because sometimes, a listening ear means more to those in pain than tangible necessities. For them, it wasn’t only about how they could help the refugees but also what the volunteer teams could learn from Syrian experiences too. To continue to raise awareness, Sam accompanied a Canadian journalist from the Toronto Star to the Syrian border as a translator. On the way there, Sam visited refugee camps in Jordan as well and provided as much support as he did in Turkey. He helped to deliver food, everyday supplies, and medications in various camps around Jordan namely Zaatari, Al Ramtha and Erbid camps. Sam also assisted in organizing a very successful fundraising event which featured renowned pianist, Malek al-Jandali.
Sam finished high school in Mississauga after migrating with his family to Canada at the age of 14. At 17, he started his own clothing store business and after completing his higher education in Toronto, Sam worked as an art director in the 360 virtual tour department at the international company, IPIX.
After working as a manager, Sam chose to give back to his community and became an instructor at the Arts and Graphics institution but didn’t become too comfortable there; he pushed himself further and opened an Instructional Centre specializing in computer and graphic studies in 2001 called the Canadian-Certified-Computer-Training, CCCT. In 2001, he opened the largest Center for computer sale and maintenance in Mississauga. By 2004, Smart Buy Company blossomed into more branches and large warehouses, each of them were stronger and more efficient than the previous one. Due to the great recession in the late 2000s, Sam started all over
again from scratch to reestablish himself giving him the opportunity to build a clearer, deeper and greater foundation for his success which manifested itself as SAV today