Friendship of Aya and Jessy Demonstrates the Power of Welcoming Diversity

Aya Darrouba remembers the first time she went tobogganing with her best friend Jessy Seward. “We crashed,” Aya exclaims. “It was so much fun. Don’t worry, no one was hurt.”

Best friends since the seventh grade, Aya, who is blind since birth says she is never afraid to try new things with Jessy. In addition to the sledding expedition, Jessy and Aya have gone rock climbing, volunteered together at the New Canadians Centre’s Multicultural Canada Day Festival, Peterborough Pulse and the Salvation Army. They even teamed up to help get a light installed to ensure safe crossing from their school at Highland and Fairbairn Streets. “When Aya first came to my house my parents were worried she wouldn’t be able to go up and down the stairs,” Jessy laughs.

Since they became best friends the two girls say they have learned a great deal from one another. “Aya has taught me how to read Braille and Arabic,” Jessy says. “I’m more aware of the challenges people face because of Aya.”

“Jessy has taught me to be more adventurous,” says Aya. “She is the first friend who is the same age I am, who is not blind.”

“Aya is the sister I never had!” says Jessy.

This story is part of the New Canadians Centre’s #WeBelong Campaign – Celebrating 40 Years of Inspiring and Encouraging Newcomers.

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