Community and connection are the core of resettling refugees. How have settlement organizations navigated lockdown?
Why It Matters
Newcomers are having a hard time finding community in Canada, because of COVID-19 shutdowns and the xenophobia it’s brought. If they can’t fully participate in life here in Canada, not only does it negatively impact their wellbeing, but all Canadians miss out on the ways newcomers make our communities better.
“The majority of my earlier experiences as a newcomer in Canada were filled with feelings of isolation and loneliness,” says Yara Younis.
To Younis, a former refugee who fights for migrant justice and equality as a project manager at the Refugee Livelihood Lab at Simon Fraser University, being a part of a community is essential.
Settlement organizations act as invaluable resources for navigating life in a new country. They provide refugees and newcomers with guidance to accessing essential services, signing children up for school, finding permanent and temporary housing and attaining gainful employment.
This kind of programming has been able to continue, with some notable challenges, as the world grapples with COVID-19. But community-building, a key aspect of settlement work, has been all but impossible.
Activities like team sports, meeting with pe
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