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In April 2019, SCSC is launching a joint initiative to welcome newly arrived asylum seekers to Montreal. This will be an opportunity for community-building and shared-learning for both asylum seekers and volunteers in an informal and intimate setting.
This is a joint initiative with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Urban Spaces, PRAIDA (Programme régional d’accueil et d’intégration des demandeurs d’asile) and the Atwater Library’s Connecting People to A Digital Lifestyle Project.
Sessions will begin on Monday April 29th and will be held on an ongoing basis on Mondays evenings from 6-7:30pm.
As a volunteer, you will serve as an “ambassador” from Montreal, but it is not a requirement to have lived in Montreal for an extended period of time to participate.
Some of the broader challenges asylum seekers are facing during their first few weeks in Montreal include: finding housing, finding employment, learning French and/or English, registering their children in school, accessing healthcare, finding mental healthcare, processing their asylum claims, integrating into the community and making friends/building social capital.
During each session, participants will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and share their concerns around integration and access to resources as well as any extra-curricular interests they or their children may have. Volunteers, coming from a diversity of backgrounds, areas of expertise and interests, can offer advice where applicable and share their own knowledge and experience in community involvement.
Library staff will be helping to facilitate the sessions, and will lend a specific focus on accessing community through digital resources (i.e. using Facebook and other online platforms to find free community events). The Library will also have a few laptops or tablets on hand around which volunteers and participants may gather in smaller workgroups to interface with social media, talk about word processing, translation applications, etc.
Please reach out to Jessica at [email protected] with any questions, ideas or concerns.
The Welcome Sessions are part of a new SCSC project called, Common Threads— a collaborative initiative between the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness and Médecins Sans Frontieres Urban Spaces. The project aims to create a positive and empowering narrative of forced migration on the North American continent; one that recognizes our common humanity and upholds dignity.