Mirna is grateful to give back in her new career as a Hospital Clerk.

Mirna is grateful to give back in her new career as a Hospital Clerk.

From hiding to thriving: How a little girl from Iraq grew up and found herself

By Yasmin Meawad

While many of us have happy childhood memories, Mirna Brikha was robbed of hers. She only remembers feeling unsafe in Iraq. “I didn’t feel I had a future. If I were out alone, I worried I might not make it home. We lived in fear every day.”

When Mirna was 13, her family escaped to Syria before coming to Canada. “I remember the first day I woke up in Canada. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Looking at the green grass made me feel so… it’s indescribable.” Life was stable until a traumatic incident changed her life and inspired her to work in healthcare.

16 Days

Mirna kept to herself in high school. “I wasn’t brave enough to speak in front of others.” Mirna had gone from hiding from explosions to hiding from the world. Despite the challenges she faced, Mirna graduated. Her world changed when she was in a terrible car accident at 19.

Mirna was hospitalized for 16 days. “I developed PTSD and had a hard time coping. Depression controlled me.” When she was discharged from the hospital, she had to learn to walk again. “I didn’t want others to have a difficult time looking after me. I isolated myself.”

Taking the first step

The care and compassion she received while in the hospital was life changing. “I realized I wanted to help others in the same way the healthcare staff helped me.” Mirna decided to pursue a career in healthcare.

Back on her feet, Mirna took her first step and met with a Program Advisor at Stenberg. She chose the Unit and Hospital Clerk program because “it leads to many rewarding careers.”

Mirna’s program began one week before the pandemic hit. As classes shifted to online learning, Mirna’s classmates became each other’s backbone. She thrived in the program, became a leader, and achieved a 96% grade point average.

Into the real world

Mirna’s first three weeks of practicum were at Peace Arch Hospital in the medical imaging department. “I loved it. My supervisor encouraged me to apply as soon as there was an opening.” The remaining three weeks of Mirna’s practicum were completed in the health records department at Delta Hospital, where she was also invited to apply.

Today, Mirna works in health records and registration at both hospitals. With a newfound passion, the little girl from Iraq has come out of her shell. “It’s a different experience knowing that others believe in me. Working in a hospital has made me more confident. I’m making a difference.”

Inspired? Learn more about our Unit and Hospital Clerk Diploma program.


Mirna enjoying a moment of happiness in Iraq.

Mirna enjoying a moment of happiness in Iraq.

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