Imagine going to the grocery store and finding that the food doesn’t look like anything like you’re used to; education is in a language you don’t understand and you feel caught between two cultures.
“Starting over was hard,” says Binyam, 16, whose family of seven came to Canada for better access to education and opportunities. “Sometimes I wondered if I should have stayed in Sudan.”
Families emigrating from different parts of the world to Canada have many hardships to face. As they adapt to a new culture and lifestyle, many struggle to find acceptance and belonging.
Across the country Salvation Army immigrant and refugee services such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, housing assistance and employment information make life easier and goals attainable for those who choose to call Canada home.
As The Salvation Army helps to ensure that newcomers thrive in times of transition we also want them to feel part of a big family. In doing so, staff and volunteers take time to learn and pronounce a newcomer’s name. They take interest in learning about their traditions and cultures and listen to homeland stories that are important to them.
Living in a country where many cultures come together not only enriches our lives, it reminds us of what is good about our country and that there are people willing to leave everything behind to enjoy our freedoms and way of life.
What more can we do to make new immigrants feel welcomed and valued?