The Integration & Settlement Services Program by Shelina Rangwala and Ebraheem Kanaan

Rubina Afsar Events, Settlement in the Community News

Support for Vulnerable and Refugee Women and Youth

The Integration & Settlement Services Program aims at the social integration of newcomer and vulnerable youth and women who might face significant barriers due to factors such as struggling for immigration status, low education, language, unemployment, housing, gender issues, culture, high health or mental health needs and/or disability. All these factors can have a significant influence on the health and well-being of youth and women.

This new project provides a more intensive case management to provide a greater level of support. We provide assistance to youth and women with immigration issues and settlement services like OW, ODSB, housing, employment, legal aid, etc. This project aims at identifying the intense struggles that many of women and youth from various cultural backgrounds may experience. Isolation, lack of English skills, difficulty settling to Canadian norms, sometimes women not getting support to work, and low community connections often lead to depression. The women-focused programming is to help improve/enhance the social integration with a focus on the newcomer and vulnerable women. We have planned a series of workshops which aims at allowing women to have more control over their lives, improve self-esteem, focus on mental health, breaking isolation, getting connected to important community resources, violence again women prevention, self-organizing in the community and more.

We have and are in the process of engaging with several other community agencies as partners to assist in implementing this program so that we develop a community response that is connecting participants across the community and to share our resources towards shared goals of integrating newcomers. We have collaborated with Somali Immigrant Aid, TD Centre for Learning, Sojourn House and Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Toronto. We look forward to working collaboratively with other organizations to meet our clients’ needs.

Recently, we provided an orientation session for around 40 newcomer youth and women in collaboration with the SWIS team at Monsignor Fraser Isabella Campus. We form collaborations within CultureLink as well to achieve positive outcomes for the vulnerable youth and women in our community.