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Coming to Canada

July 7, 2022

Post Contributed By: Stéphanie Roy, Executive Director, Centre de santé Saint-Boniface | Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2020-2022

To some, coming to a new country is a choice, an adventure, something they are really looking forward to do. For many, this is hope for a better life or to simply flee. Coming to a new country with a different culture, different governmental structure, different climate, and different language can be a major shock. For us Canadians for many generations, it might be hard to really understand the struggles the newcomers are facing.

I came from Québec when I was 15 years old where I was raised in a Francophone environment. My English was limited. I had the experience of moving every 3 years but when I came to a place where I could not understand anyone, that was a shock. I can only imagine how it would be for someone from another country.

I spent this beautiful day in late June visiting organizations that welcome new immigrants to Winnipeg and helps them with some basic needs; finding a place to stay, applying for a job, filling out documents in a new language, showing them where to buy food, teaching them to speak English, or simply helping them get a pair of shoes to go to work. But all organizations we visited today help the newcomers to create their new little community.

We visited 3 organizations that have a big impact; the Immigrant Center, IRCOM and the Holy Names House of Peace. They all have one thing in common: welcoming. They all have a different purpose, a mission and a vision and they all have a lack of space. The need is great.

I left feeling reassured that there are resources for new immigrants but I also know that not all new immigrants know about these resources. My last stop was the Holy Names House of Peace where we were privileged to meet a beautiful lady from Chad who shared her story. She felt secure and supported enough in her new environment to open up and be vulnerable with us. I have much respect for her and admiration. It takes courage, it takes hope to get up and leave to move across the ocean alone. Like many, the travel might be over but the journey is long.

This is another great day in my books in the Leadership Winnipeg Program.

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