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Refugees welcome! ICA continues resettlement efforts.
Image courtesy of Domnic Santiago, https://www.flickr.com/photos/domsworld
Greater Victoria has welcomed 154 Government Assisted Refugees from Syria during the month of February. ICA staff have been busy working in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross to provide on-site services to refugee families and are happy to report that the general orientation session is well underway: paperwork is being processed; newcomers are attending housing, financial, and cultural orientation sessions offered in Arabic; bank accounts with Van City are opened; and the process of looking for permanent housing has begun.

Housing continues to be a main priority and we encourage anyone with information on housing to please complete

ICA is grateful for the ongoing support of the public after raising over 1 million dollars for refugee sponsorship. We also want to thank all of the volunteers and staff who have been working tirelessly to ensure newcomer families are equipped with the necessary resources to begin their new lives in Canada.
ICA hosts 2016 BC TEAL Conference!
Submitted by Todd Kitzler, Language Services Manager

On February 20, 2016 ICA hosted the annual BC TEAL Vancouver Island Regional Conference. The Association of British Columbia Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BC TEAL), established in 1967, is an organization of educators dedicated to the growth and development of the profession of English language teaching. This was the first time ICA's Language Services program had an opportunity to host such an event and it allowed us to show off not only our settlement language training (LINC) program, but also to highlight all the services offered at ICA for newcomers and the important community collaborations. Attendees were interested in learning more about what we do and some were keen to know how they could get involved. Below is a write up and pictures from the conference contributed by Jennifer Peachey, BC TEAL member.
Another year of growth and success: CPN update
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Community Engagement specialist Jim Diers presenting to CPN members at the UVic First Nation's House in May 2015

The Community Partnership Network celebrates another year of supporting diversity and building welcoming and inclusive communities in the Greater Victoria Region. The Community Partnership Network (CPN) - a group of more than 200 local businesses, agencies and organizations - is committed to building diverse, welcoming, and inclusive organizations. Thanks to funding from the United Way of Greater Victoria, the CPN organized and delivered:


Seminars: Two day Diversity Seminars were organized and hosted - the first in May 2015 at the UVic First Nations House; and the second in February 2016 at the Royal British Columbia Museum. More than 200 CPN members collectively attended the two seminars. The May 2015 seminar featured Community Engagement specialist Jim Diers who presented on "Building Inclusive Communities." The February 2016 seminar included a panel presentation on the topic of "Preparing for the Resettlement of Syrian Refugees."

Read more from our CPN update here....
"We can make life better for a few individuals, and change their worlds."
Submitted by Alexandra Dawley, Youth Services Facilitator

Since 2015, a remarkable group of ten Vic High students have been actively coordinating events to raise funds and increase awareness for Syrian Newcomers in the Greater Victoria Area. 

The student group began by
Alexandra Dawley with Kaela Douglas
 visiting every classroom in their school, explaining to students how they were fundraising for Syrian Refugees - and were amazed after successfully raising $1500! The students channeled this motivation into raising more money and creatively cultivating awareness throughout their communities and networks. Since then, the group's activities have ranged from carolling over the holidays to raise money, holding several bake sales, planning henna application events, and providing by-donation Pre-Calculus tutoring services with all proceeds going to their cause.  

The group has successfully raised an impressive $4469.30 of their $8,000 goal, all of which is going to the ICA Refugee Sponsorship Fund.
ICA launches its annual Youth Community Project!
Submitted by Lissette Tougas, Settlement Youth Worker

Happy Spring, everyone! It has been a very successful, and very busy, few weeks for youth programs at ICA. In particular, we have some exciting news to share regarding changes to programs and new offerings. 

Youth Community Project
We are happy to announce that our annual Youth Community Project launched on March 10, 2016. Our new Settlement Youth Worker, Lissette Tougas, cooked and prepared a traditional El Salvadorian meal for the new occasion and it was a huge success. Aside from the yummy food, Youth Community Project enables newcomer youth and volunteers to engage in their community. This unique project will continue for six weeks and is aimed at newcomer youth aged 15 to 25 years old.
This project is special in that it is almost entirely youth-led and this year was no different! The youth in attendance did a fantastic job of outlining their goal as a large group and various ideas on how to effectively implement them. Not only are they getting to know the social issues topical in their immediate geographical community of Victoria, but they are building strong citizenship skills and empathy. Lissette is looking forward to seeing the growth of both the participants and of the lives they will impact. Read more....

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 21, 2016 marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. 
Image courtesy of Monusco: https://www.flickr.com/photos/monusco
The United Nations marked this year's theme as: Challenges and Achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action - 15 years after the landmark document was adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in South Africa.

"The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action is the most comprehensive framework for fighting racism and related forms of intolerance and discrimination. It represents the firm commitment of the international community to tackle these issues, and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide" (United Nations, 2016).
March 21 is an opportunity and invitation for each of us to reflect, be aware of and seek positive ways to combat racial discrimination and create welcoming, inclusive, and accepting communities. ICA staff are passionate about this initiative, and invite you to find ways within your daily lives to recognize diversity in all its forms!
ICA continues to welcome new staff!
MEAAD ALHARBI - Resettlement Assistance Program Worker
My name is Meaad Alharbi. I am from Saudi Arabia. In 2012, I came to Canada as an international student to learn English and to pursue a Master's degree. During my studies, I enjoyed many volunteer experiences in non-profit organizations. In Nanaimo, I had a great chance to do a tremendously valuable internship with Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society where I found my passion in serving communities and helping immigrants and refugees.
After I finished my internship, I continued following my passion in working for a non-profit organization by completing more than ten courses on gaining practical knowledge and skills for working in a non-profit organization. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering to teach international students how to pass IELTS exam and get accepted into Canadian universities. Since I came to Canada I have had so many people help me throughout this time adjusting to new life here. I feel I am responsible to return this favor by helping others. I am so happy to dedicate my passion, time and energy to help immigrants and refugees, so they will happily call Canada a new home and start a new life.
From left to right Meaad Alharbi, Adam Yaghi, and Fatma Dogus

ADAM YAGHI - Resettlement Assistance Program Worker
Hello! My name is Adam Yaghi and I am fluent in both Arabic and English. I have personally experienced dislocation and immigration, and have a diverse work history. I was born and raised in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. In 2005, I moved to the United States to earn my MA in English Literature and in 2008, I relocated to Canada to earn a doctorate in Multicultural and Contemporary American Literature from the University of Victoria. In December 2015, I successfully finished my doctorate. After many years of teaching and learning, I am now looking forward to taking a break from academia to work with refugees and immigrants. 

FATMA DOGUS - Settlement Worker
I was born in Mersin, Turkey. Mersin is a city filled with diverse cultures and people by the Mediterranean Sea in southeast Turkey. Growing up in the culturally diverse city of Mersin and having a family of Syrian ancestry made me passionate to learn more about different cultures. Before starting my journey in Canada, I obtained a Bachelor of Education from Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey. During this time I have had a chance to travel to different parts of Turkey. In 2008, I came to Canada as an international student and completed a Master's degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Victoria. Upon completion of my degree, I continued my career working in an international language school and helping students from all over the world with their transition to Canada.
I am looking forward to bringing my personal experience as an immigrant as well as my professional expertise to support newcomers with their transition to Victoria. I am excited and happy to be part of ICA's family, and learning and growing with ICA's team and clients.

SHARMARKE MOHAMED - Facilitator of Refugee Volunteer
Support Services
I understand what it means to leave everything behind to come to a new country,and relate to people who flee from troubles in their home countries. My journey to find a home took me to several countries until I was sponsored as a refugee to Canada in 2012. I have a deep desire to promote integration for newcomers into their new communities and strongly believe that everyone can be an agent of integration. Since arriving in Canada three and a half years ago, I have worked with newcomers to help them settle. Prior to that, I spent 7 years working with asylum seekers, migrants and refugees in the Middle East. I am now so pleased to join ICA to facilitate refugee volunteer support services for newcomers. Read more here...

In This Issue
Refugees welcome! ICA continues resettlement efforts.
ICA hosts 2016 BC Teal Conference!
Another year of growth and success: CPN Update
"We can make life better for a few individuals, and change their worlds."
ICA launches its annual Youth Community Project!
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
ICA continues to welcome new staff!
What's Happening?
Community Events



Interested in supporting refugees resettle in our community on an ongoing basis? 


Consider making a monthly donation to ICA.



Still missing your 2016 Multifaith calendars?

Still 9 months left of 2016 and many interesting dates ahead. Get yours for only $10. Call reception at 250-388-4728 or drop by ICA to pick up your copy. 

What's Happening? 

Weekly Settlement Orientation Sessions
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 
Available in English on Wednesdays
12:30  - 2:30 pm  
Available in Mandarin on Wednesdays
9:30 am - 11:30 am
普通话讲座: 周三上午9:30 - 11:30
 Learn more...

Baby Talk Class
Topics include feeding your baby, dental care, car seat safety, immunization, and parenting. 
April 1- 29, 2016

10:00am - 11:30am
930 Balmoral Road (at Quadra)

Youth Community Project
A free 6-week program for newcomer youth ages 15-25 focused on building leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and making new friends. 
March 10 - April 14, 2016

4 pm - 5:30 pm
930 Balmoral Road (at Quadra)
Youth Homework Club
Peer tutoring for immigrant and refugee youth ages 8-18. 
January 13 - June 8, 2016

4 pm - 5:30 pm
930 Balmoral Road (at Quadra)

Citizenship Classes 
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests.  
Two Fridays per month.   

ICA Employment Services
If you are looking for employment or need to upgrade, ICA's Employment Services Centre can help!  

Community Events
New Home, New Jobs, New Lives: Exploring the Experience of Immigrant Employees through Theatre
Applied theatre students from UVic perform the joys and challenges of the lives of immigrant employees, followed by a facilitated dialogue.  
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
7:00 - 9:00 pm
First Metropolitan United Church Sanctuary, 932 Balmoral Rd. 
Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Going Home Star Truth & Reconciliation
Created with guidance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and members of the Aboriginal community. 
April 1 & 2, 2016
Royal Theatre
Learn more here...

Syrian Inspired Cooking Class
Join Chef Cosmo Meens for a delicious evening of Syrian style meal. Enjoy a tasteful evening at this fundraising dinner. 
Friday, April 1 
6 pm -9 pm 

"Catalyst" by Island Circus Space
Island Circus Space is proud to present its first production.   
Saturday & Sunday, April 2 - 3
4 pm & 8 pm
Metro Theatre

Afro Contemporary Dance Classes of Guinea and Mali
Beautiful dances of West Africa. Also learn jazz, hip hop and more.   
Thursdays until April 17
6:30 - 8:00 pm
310 Henry St, Vic West

BC SPCA Wild ARC 12th Annual Open House
Offers a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at a wildlife rehabilitation centre.   
Saturday & Sunday, April 2 - 3
12 pm - 4:30 pm

Caravan by Ensemble Laude Women's Choir
Join for a breathtaking journey through history and across cultures.   
Saturday, April 2 
7:30 pm 
St. Mary the Virgin Church
Learn more here...

Spring Thaw FREE Skate
Enjoy music, games, and refreshments sponsored by Coast Capital Savings.   
Saturday, April 2 
2:30 pm - 4 pm 
Archie Browning Sports Centre
Learn more here...

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 
A visitor favourite every year, returns with a brand new selection of 100 of the most stunning images from around the world. 
Daily until April 4, 2016
Royal BC Museum 

Live @ Lunch - Peace River Valley: Biodiversity and Conservation Initiatives 
Biologists and other experts from BC take on a bio blitz to document the flora and fauna of the Peace River region.   
Wednesday, April 6 
12:00 pm - 1 pm 
Royal BC Museum
Learn more here...

Paper Street Theatre Improv Festival  
The festival includes 5 nights of performances with performers from Seattle, Calgary and Ottawa. 
April 12-16, 2016
Intrepid Theatre

Dan MacDougall Art Exhibit
Join West Coast artist and friend of ICA, Dan MacDougall as he showcases 10 paintings & 10 bell jars. 
February 29 - April 2. 
Opening reception March 5, 2016
3:00 - 5:00 pm 

Plant Identification and Culture Workshop 
Learn all about plants with Diane Pierce expert gardener, designer and writer. Diane will introduce you to 25 new plants in each session.
Saturday, April 16
1 pm - 4 pm
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Art Battle Victoria
Art Battle is live competitive painting, where painters create the best work they can in 20 minutes.   
Friday, April 15
7 pm 
1415 Broad Street
Victoria Event Centre

Spring into Etsy Market
Meet artisans that make everything they sell as well as vintage vendors. 
Saturday, April 23
10 am - 4 pm 
Market Square

Times Colonist 10K
Join 10,000+ walkers and runners in the 27th annual TC10K in Downtown Victoria. Run as an individual or sign up as a team.   
Sunday, April 24
8 am
Downtown Victoria

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