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Our People: Hassan Jaber

 Our People: Hassan Jaber

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Hassan Jaber has a dream to one day build a first-of-its-kind Canadian orphan educational facility in the heart of Iraq that will help children in the war-torn country.

It’s a mission that started in 2014 when he founded Yes2Iraq, a registered non-profit organization that has lent aid to more than 300 Iraqi orphans over the past four years.

For the young OPG Project Leader, the dream keeps him busy well into the night after work hours, but it’s all worth it, he said.

Hassan Jaber, Project Leader – Plant Monitoring
Hassan Jaber, Project Leader – Plant Monitoring

​“As a Canadian organization we are inspired by core Canadian values such as access to quality education, healthcare, and peaceful coexistence,” said Jaber, who serves as president of Yes2Iraq. “We strive to spread and encourage these values not only in Iraq, but around the world.”

Jaber graduated from the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2014 and has worked as a project engineer and manager in the automotive and energy sectors.

In April 2018, he joined OPG as a Project Leader at the Monitoring and Diagnostics Centre in Pickering, where he now leads the implementation of wireless sensors across OPG’s nuclear and renewable generation fleet. These sensors proactively detect equipment failures before they occur and protect OPG’s stations, ultimately saving costs and improving performance.

His work to bring attention to the plight of Iraq’s orphans began when he visited his home country after an 11-year absence. During this trip, he encountered a six-year-old girl who was selling tissues on the street to provide food for her family after losing her father. At the time, the country’s war with terrorist group ISIS had orphaned and displaced many children.

After this experience, Jaber began to produce videos to raise awareness about the high toll decades of war and terrorism have taken on Iraq’s most vulnerable. Shortly after, he formed a team in Baghdad to aid children in need.

“We have children all around the world going through difficult circumstances. I wanted to remind myself, my friends and fellow Canadians to be more thankful for what we have here,” he said.

Yes2Iraq now consists of more than 30 volunteers and staff located in Toronto, Detroit, Sydney, and Baghdad. Through campaigns, sponsorships, and donations the organization has provided educational, medical, and humanitarian aid both in Iraq and Canada. Recently, Yes2Iraq helped renovate a school in Diyala, Iraq, to ensure that hundreds of students had access to a safe learning environment. And in Toronto, Yes2Iraq recently launched a winter clothing drive to aid the homeless community during the Christmas break.

Jaber’s long-term goal of building a Canadian-run orphan education facility and exchange program for 50 orphans in Iraq has received the support of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, but its construction will rely solely on donations and investors, he said.

For now, he is focused on growing Yes2Iraq to help needy children in and outside of Iraq. In 2019, the organization will change its name to the Canadian Aid and Development Association to expand its scope and provide more humanitarian aid, regardless of location.

While Jaber’s efforts to help the world’s orphans seem larger than life, he insists that everyone can play a part no matter how small.

“It might be overly ambitious to think that we can resolve the on-going issues around us, but we can start laying down the foundation by making a small difference within our company or neighborhood,” he said. “We can all make a difference, whether by helping those in need or volunteering for a cause one cares about. Planting those good deeds and creating ripples of change, this is what the initiative is all about.”

Employee spotlight: Hassan Jaber
Position: Project Leader – Plant Monitoring
Work location: 889 Brock Rd.
Years of service: One
Favourite places to visit in Ontario: Downtown Toronto, Kensington Market and Niagara Falls
Favourite hobbies: Travelling, soccer and exercise