Aïcha Guendafa has been serving as executive director of CARI St-Laurent since 2000. After teaching physics at university for nine years in her native Algeria, she moved to France. While learning to cope with the problems of adapting to a new country, she obtained a degree in education and became a teacher as well as a youth worker in a community centre. Four years later she immigrated once again, this time to Montreal, where she began looking for a job working with immigrants.
Her search brought her to CARI St-Laurent, where she has been working ever since. Over the years, Mrs. Guendafa has earned a reputation for transparency and probity among all the groups she deals with, from the agency’s beneficiaries, employees and volunteers to its partners and financial backers. Having immigrated twice herself, she is very respectful of immigrants and intimately acquainted with the realities they face. She brings tremendous energy and efficiency to bear in developing suitable projects to meet their needs. She is also a visionary and, while helping immigrants to overcome their immediate problems, looks to the future and constantly strives to find lasting solutions.
Thanks to Aïcha Guendafa’s leadership, humanity, wisdom and outstanding abilities, CARI St Laurent has become a byword for excellence and won many prizes. Mrs. Guendafa also participated in the creation of the local Carrefour jeunesse emploi (Youth Employment Crossroads) and currently serves as a director of the Saint-Laurent/West Island local development centre.