"I helped the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society in its infancy stages by working with Margaret Chisholm. I still remember back in 1980 working with her in the basement of a church. We would plan our strategies on how to best settle the large groups of refugees & immigrants coming from countries like Vietnam, Czech Republic, Laos, Cambodia, Poland, Ukraine, Cuba & El Salvador. We had our paperwork scattered on the only small table in the room which had a small filing cabinet as well. We were given a flight manifest of the people coming in from Immigration. There were no computers so we had to handwrite checklists and put them on clipboards to help match these lists with the arriving refugees. There was a housing problem at this time as well so we put them in hotels and then move them into apartment buildings, duplexes or basements suites when they became available. I helped Margaret get various accommodations across the city for the refugees, convincing many landlords to help accommodate them. The refugees were given only 7 days of orientation and some useful English words to help them to communicate. So, we provided them with more assistance, even showing them how to cross the road safely. We helped get the children in school & I would even take some refugees to prospective employers for jobs. Together we took groups of families to buy the kitchen utensils in China town. I donated many hours to meet their settlement needs and even adopted four Vietnamese children that came without parents, later helping sponsor seven members of their family as well. I borrowed a big van from another organization to transport the families and used Cardinal Coach Buses to transport them from the Calgary International Airport. Margaret and I ended-up settling about 20 thousand refugees with a very few volunteers to help us. I remember a meeting with Ralph Klein (who was then the mayor of Calgary) towards our second year of work, where he asked Margaret & I if we had a team of people behind us to settle the refugees; Margaret and I looked at each-other and told him we were it."
An enthusiastic philanthropist, prolific writer, poet, talented artist, Bahl is the President and Founder of “For the Love of Children Society of Alberta”, a charity aid organization.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Bahl’s aid work with FTLOCS, providing millions of dollars of aid in supplies, support and man-power to build stable orphanages and schools and to deliver medicine and healing methods that would otherwise be unavailable. A Human Rights activist who also fights against the Human Trafficking of children. It is estimated his FTLOCS has helped over one million children & their families in Canada and abroad.
Mr. Bahl provided help, hope and support to disadvantaged children in Canada & around the world. He gave aid to children with disabilities, illnesses and those who have special needs or those vulnerable. He provided and supported educational, therapeutic and rehabilitative programs to help children reach their full potential. Also provided and supported arts, cultural programs and the building of playground structures-Currently he is helping the most vulnerable during Covid-19 lockdown( helped thousands by providing food, masks & other essentials) He has helped in most of the natural disasters that occurred around the world for the past 40 years. Mr.Bahl never paid himself to do the charitable work and his non-profit organization is totally volunteer based.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Angelina Jolie are amongst the people who have recognized Mr. Bahl’s efforts to help less fortunate children around the world. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has recognized him three times for his work with FTLOCS. 30,000 children are in the care of the FTLOCS and as of this year, 93 schools & orphanages have been built or supported by the organization. About 9,200 children graduate each year from his schools( some of which are named after him). The aid organization has taken him and his team to the front-lines of over a dozen war-torn and devastated countries, including Cambodia,Guatemala,Costa Rica, Lebanon, Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Honduras, Philippines, Australia and Japan.
Mr. Bahl has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to philanthropy in supporting healthy and vibrant communities of children across the globe.
Mr. Bahl’s recent directorial debut of “For the Love of Children”– an internationally acclaimed film documenting his life’s work won the coveted Angel Trophy Award for Best Film at the Angel Film Awards. Shot around the world during his aid visits with underprivileged and disaster-affected children and their families, the film is about Ashid’s life journey to help the less fortunate around the world.
Bahl is the first Canadian to receive this prestigious award at the Monaco International Film Festival held in December 2013. The film also won the award for Best Feature Documentary, which was announced by the AFA Jury President and universally praised by two-time Oscar nominated, Palme d’Or winning film director Roland Joffre.
Mr. Bahl aims to impart his message of hope, compassion and that even one person can make a big difference to bring about peace and stability in this world.
“Life is not about us; life is about making life happen for someone else who is less
fortunate…in that, is the true significance of living.” – Ashid Bahl