The 20 of June is World Refugee Day. We are all neighbours.
According to UNHCR there are nearly 25.9 million refugees and more than half of them are under the age of 18. A refugee is a person who was forced to flee their home country and seeks a refuge in a safe place. Most refugees decide to flee because of the situation in their country (such as war, persecution for their religious beliefs, political views, sexual preferences) or human rights violations.
World Refugee Day aims to recognize those lives and to campaign that anybody can chip in and help. It is important to raise awareness about the situation of refugees throughout the world. Numerous groups, organizations and individuals worldwide are working to help: The Catholic International Development Charity, for example released this video in 2018 to encourage church members to help refugees.
The Association for New Canadians is here to help any newcomer and we provide our clients with support on a daily basis. But on this important day we decided to do a little more by sharing ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ packages with newcomers who arrived in St. John’s as Government Assisted Refugees and Privately Sponsored Refugees within the last year.
ANC volunteers and staff members prepared lovely gifts of food and gift cards, which they then delivered to homes of clients who had arrived as refugees within the past year. This gesture was to greet newcomers in our community and show Newfoundland hospitality. It is a small way to honour newcomers and their resilience to start a new beginning, and to thank those who are making NL their home and enriching our Province.
Follow this link to read CBC Adam Walsh’s story about Welcome to the Neighbourhood.
This link takes you to NTV’s story featuring young artist Estera Niyera.
Here are some of the ways you can help newcomers to our province:
• Sign up for conversational circles to improve newcomers’ English.
The Association for New Canadians invites volunteers to reach out and get involved. We can match you with newcomers who are looking to improve their skills. It’s
a great way to meet new people too!
• Provide help with securing employment
You might want to help with writing a resume or showing newcomers your local job boards and practice interviewing skills.
• Show them the ropes
Newcomers may struggle in the new community so feel free to show people your community and introduce their new surroundings. Things that might be easy and
obvious for a long-term resident of NL may be very challenging for the newcomer. The provincial healthcare system could be a new experience for many
newcomers, local schools would be of great interest to families , connecting people with like-minded community groups as well as finding a new place to shop all
enhance a feeling of belonging to a new environment.
• Provide emotional support and build a friendship
Newcomers to Canada often have a limited network around them and sometimes they do not know anybody at all. It might get lonely, so it is appreciated if local
people extend an offer of friendship and support to the newcomer. Sharing stories and experiences together build understanding and lasting relationships.
The ANC encourages everyone within our community to get involved in our volunteering programs. The Community Connections Program engages citizens, immigrants and refugees to create meaningful community connections in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Match Program assists immigrants adapt to life in Canada by matching them with local volunteers who provide assistance with learning English, establishing social connections, and integrating into their new community.
It is also worth reminding that on the 25 of June 2020, (this Thursday), the ANC is holding our yearly Diversity Summit. This event remains an engaging and thought-provoking opportunity to build rich connections among businesses, immigrants, community groups, and citizens. We are striving to promote Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism in Business and Communities in NL. This year we are holding the event online due to the social distancing protocols, so don’t forget to register at this link.
Contact me at Skrajewska@ancnl.ca
I can help with any settlement needs you might have or connect you to any community program that ANC provides.