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DIVERSEcity’s Bundle Up Campaign to help refugees keep warm during the coming winter

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DIVERSEcity’s Bundle Up Campaign
To help refugees keep warm during the coming winter

Surrey, BC, November 12, 2019 – With cold temperatures and even snowfall expected this winter, DIVERSEcity is seeking warm clothes, food staples and more for local refugee families, many of whom are experiencing their first Canadian winter.

As winter approaches, DIVERSEcity aims to give back to the community with its Bundle Up Campaign, an annual donation drive for refugees and higher need clients to prepare them for the cold Canadian winter months that are fast approaching.

Jordan-born Rana Alahmad is the coordinator of the campaign at the Surrey-based non-profit organization. “Many refugees and newcomers to Canada come from warm countries and they are not prepared for the cold winter weather here,” said Alahmad, who is also DIVERSEcity’s Refugee and Immigrant Specialized Experience (RISE) Program Coordinator.

“They also have many kids sometimes and can’t afford to get appropriate winter clothing. As DIVERSEcity is devoted to helping newcomers, part of this devotion is to help those who are in need. It’s one of DIVERSEcity’s ways to give back to the community and help newly arrived refugee and immigrant families stay warm,” adds Alahmad.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals that of the 164,255 refugees that Canada has received since 2015, more than 18,000 of them have been resettled in the province of British Columbia.  And Surrey is a top destination.

Between 2011 and 2016, Surrey received 36,335 recent immigrants, while its net increase in immigrant population grew by 32,310, the highest of any municipality in BC,” according to a report by NewtoBC. And refugees make up 11 per cent of Surrey’s total immigrant population and 10.2 per cent of its recent immigrant population. Poised to become BC’s largest city by 2030, Surrey is likely to continue receiving a high proportion of BC’s refugees and immigrants.

To meet the needs of this growing segment of the population, DIVERSEcity has been providing specialized services for newcomers and refugees to Surrey, Delta, Langley and White Rock for more than 40 years. Coupled with the other services DIVERSEcity provides newcomers, the Bundle up Campaign makes transitioning to life in Canada smoother by providing refugees with the essentials to adjust to a climate they are unfamiliar with.

“The clients always express their gratitude and are thankful for the warm clothes and food staples that they get,” said Alahmad.

Sadia, an Eritrean refugee and mother of five, was one of the clients from last year’s campaign. “I’m a single mom and I have five children. We lived in Sudan before coming to Canada, and it was hot there, so we didn’t have any winter clothes. I really appreciated it,” said Sadia. “Thank you to DIVERSEcity!”

Alahmad added: “We want to thank all of the community members and DIVERSEcity staff whom through their generous donations we have been able to run this annual campaign and help our clients. They truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful!”

The donation drop-off day is Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (10 am to 4 pm) at Surrey City Centre Library (Room 402). The distribution day for DIVERSEcity’s Bundle Up Campaign follows on Friday, November 22, 2019 (9:30 am to 3 pm).

What is DIVERSEcity’s RISE Program?

The Bundle Up Campaign is part of DIVERSEcity’s RISE Program, which supports adult and youth newcomers who are experiencing complex and multiple challenges in settling into their new community through safe and specialized case management in first languages. The program provides social and emotional support, settlement information, counselling, life skills, literacy, essential skills development, practical assistance and connection to the community.

Learn more about DIVERSEcity at www.dcrs.ca.

 

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Media Contact:

Margaret Jetelina
Tel: 604-954-4007  Cell: 604-612-9148   Email: mjetelina@dcrs.ca

 

ABOUT DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

At DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, we empower newcomers and other diverse communities to build the life they want in Canada. Our free, multilingual programs and services in language, settlement, employment and counselling provide them with a foundation of information, skills and connections to achieve their goals. Our social enterprises — Interpretation and Translation Services, Skills Training Centre and Language Testing Centre — support this work, too. As a registered charity in Surrey and the Lower Mainland with a 40+ year history, we champion diversity and inclusion for all, and our message is clear — everyone belongs here.

This article was submitted by a reader from the Surrey Community. You can submit your own community story, press release, event or public notice directly to our Community Board today! We also have advertising and promotional options for businesses.

Community Board

Kisaan Ekta Collective Supports Punjabi Farmers Protesting in India

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“In light of Punjabi Farmers protesting in India, media blackouts, and misalignment, we are committed to a call to action to keeping ourselves and each other informed on what’s really going on.” Kisaan Ekta Collective is a group of individuals from Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON who are synthesizing information on the issue to transparently inform + urge a call to action to continue keeping each other informed. Visit kisaanekta.co for more information on the matter, ways to help, educational resources and artistic expressions on the matter.

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Community Board

As Flu Shots Remain Scarce, Two Flu Vaccination Clinics in Surrey Have Hundreds of Appointments Available

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Amid reports of family doctors and pharmacies running out of vaccines, and of patients’ flu vaccine appointments being canceled, two mass flu immunization clinics in Surrey are open and welcoming patients.

The clinics, which opened on November 2 and will run through December (or until supplies run out) are open to all Surrey and North Delta residents.

Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics have the capacity to provide thousands of flu vaccines, depending on demand and availability, and they are far from fully booked.

“We designed these clinics with the understanding that the demand for flu vaccines this year would be much higher than in previous years,” says Tomas Reyes, Executive Director of the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family practice. “Now that supplies have become scarce in our communities, we want to encourage anyone in Surrey and North Delta who still needs a flu shot to book an appointment – this is what these clinics were designed for.”

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

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Community Board

Two Immunization Clinics Opened This Week in Surrey

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On November 2, two large immunization clinics offering accessible flu vaccines opened in Surrey. Jointly operated by Fraser Health and the Surrey-North Delta Division of family practice, these clinics will provide flu vaccines to the Surrey-North Delta community, during the upcoming two to three months they will be in operation.

The clinics will be operating in two locations – at the Newton Urgent Primary Care Centre and at the Axis Primary Care Clinic in Cloverdale and will offer vaccination services by appointment only.

The two organizations have worked together to implement these clinics in a very short amount of time in order to meet increased community demand.  These clinics are available in addition to the traditional channels of pharmacies and family physicians providing flu vaccines to their patients.

The clinics will be open to everyone and will accommodate individuals struggling with barriers to access, such as low-income individuals and those without a family physician.

Those wishing to receive a vaccine will have to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms, and screening will be conducted at the vaccination sites before each appointment. Appointments can be booked online at https://surreynorthdeltaflushot.secureform.ca, where patients will also be able to select the time and location of their appointment.

Spots are expected to fill quickly, so organizers recommend booking as soon as possible.

About the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice

Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta.

The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta. The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta

About Fraser Health

Fraser Health is responsible for the delivery of hospital and community-based health services to over 1.8 million people in 20 diverse communities from Burnaby to Fraser Canyon on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.

Their team of nearly 40,000 staff, medical staff and volunteers is dedicated to serving patients, families and communities to deliver on our vision: Better health, best in health care.

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Community Board

Surrey social enterprise leader Harsh Thakkar is an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant of 2020

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Multiculturalism is one of the things Harsh Thakkar loves most about Canada. But it comes with its share of challenges, like language barriers, which can keep newcomers feeling left out. That might explain why Thakkar, head of DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services in Surrey, B.C., is so passionate about communication across cultures. “Language should never be an obstacle for anyone in a country as diverse as Canada,” says Thakkar, who is one of this year’s RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners.

Thakkar oversees a team of more than 300 interpreters and translators who help clients communicate, especially in the health care and court systems, in more than 88 languages. Under his leadership, he has grown the business to include rare languages, Indigenous languages and even American Sign Language (ASL). “We are proud to be a designated provider for provincial and municipal government interpretation and translation needs,” he says.

And the kicker is that it’s all for a good cause. DIVERSEcity Interpretation and Translation Services is a social enterprise, certified by Buy Social Canada. That means its profits go toward the good works done by its parent charitable organization, DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society, which helps immigrants, refugees and vulnerable populations.

Knowing his work is helping immigrants is poignant for Thakkar, who came to Canada from India as an international student in 2001. He faced his own challenges, juggling his business studies with being a peer mentor, while trying to gain work experience, even though international students were then limited in their ability to work off campus.

“This also made it more difficult to secure work experience points to later qualify under the skilled immigration category,” he says. “This motivated me to run for campus student representative. After winning the election, I went to the Parliament of Canada to speak about allowing international students to work off campus.”

Thakkar, who’s thrilled the rules have improved since then, says, “It’s important to stay positive in the face of challenges. The most important attribute that helped me achieve my goals is my personal drive and ‘can-do’ attitude and maintain enthusiasm even when things get tough.”

The same lessons apply in business. Professionally, Thakkar has developed a reputation as a charismatic, optimistic leader with organizations like the Vancouver International Marathon Society before coming to DIVERSEcity.

Thakkar, who also manages DIVERSEcity’s CELPIP Language Testing Centre, says he wants to continue to grow in his current role and take every opportunity to support newcomers to Canada, including mentoring international students in his personal time.

“As immigrants, we are surrounded by a lot of challenges, but don’t let those stop you from moving forward,” he advises. “A positive mindset is what’s going to allow you to succeed in your goals in Canada,” he says. “Honestly, we are so blessed to be in a country where people care about each other, so all you have to do is go out there and talk with people.”

And if they speak a different language, Thakkar can help you with that!

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Community Board

Shakti Film Festival 2020

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Shakti Society is a nonprofit society committed to empowering women, families, and children through community forums, Shakti Awards, annual wellness days, and other activities. Our mandate is to support all members of society, especially women, in finding their power and voice to become strong leaders and advocates for themselves and the community. We have introduced various initiatives that help ‘awaken the power within’ and create dialogue around feminism and gender equality. The Shakti Film Festival is our latest undertaking in our mission to increase and acknowledge women’s contribution to our society and their representation in film.

Shakti Society has addressed the influence of media and films on violence against women and we will be focussing and promoting films that showcase women in strong roles as well as filmmakers who are often marginalized due to various barriers, like race, color, finances, language, disability, sexual orientation and various health issues including mental health.

Due to the current pandemic, we will be hosting our inaugural film festival in a digital format where films will be screened over two days, October 10th and 11th, in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child. We will be inviting film and media personalities as well as community leaders to engage in action-oriented discussions about the role that media plays in shaping society and how we as consumers of media also play a big part in creating our culture.

This year’s program is set for October 10-11, 2020, and will consist of films that will include:

  • 1 Feature Film: 60 mins or longer
  • 1 Documentary Film: 45 min or longer
  • 1 Short Film: up to 20 mins
  • 1 Student Film: up to 8 mins

People of all genders are welcome to submit their films as long as a woman holds one of the following positions within the filmmaking team: Director, Writer, Cinematographer or Producer.

Films must fall within one of the following themes:

  • Violence Against Women
  • Political Participation of Women
  • Women and Environmental Challenges
  • Race, Gender, Identity
  • Men and Boys as Allies

The Submission Deadline is September 30th, 2020.

Awards & Prizes

  • Best Film – $100
  • Best Student Film – $100
  • Best Documentary Film – $100
  • Best Short Film – $100

Films can be submitted at https://filmfreeway.com/ShaktiFilmFestival-1

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