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For our friends around the world:

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With Jusoors Fifth Annual Global Conference happening this weekend, We wanted to know more about newcomers who will be sharing their settlement journeys, as well as the initiatives which helped them integrate socially and economically into Canada.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Ani Hjir who arrived in Canada in March 2017 as a Privately Sponsored Refugee. In Damascus, Syria Ani worked with the bible society for 25 years. Cooking was a beloved hobby of Ani’s and in Canada she decided to follow her dreams and pursue her passion as her career.

From your experience how have community initiatives helped newcomers integrate?

From my experience I have realized that community initiatives and organizations are essential to help newcomers connect with their new neighbors, particularly those who don’t have friends or relatives in Canada. These organizations become their family and their home. They also help them feel safe and less lonely in their new country. These organisations become the bridge that helps you through your settlement journey and become comfortable in your new home.
Personally, through these organizations, I developed my personal talents, and I also got the chance to know Canada and love the country more through lectures and courses offered by various groups.

What are you looking forward to at the Jusoor Fifth Annual Global Conference? 

Jusoor’s conference will give me the opportunity to meet different people who work in the resettlement sector and get to know their perspectives. It will also open doors for me to get to discover new opportunities by sharing some original sweets and desserts from  my part of the world. I specialize in Syrian and Armenian desserts and foods which I learnt from my mother and my grandmother.

These organizations become their family and their home. They also help them feel safe and less lonely in their new country.

What activity do you believe each newcomer should be connected with to help them integrate into their new community?

In my opinion, every person who is living in a new place should know about the culture of that community through interacting with their neighbors and building human relationships. By attending work and social gatherings within the community it gave me the opportunity to share my rich culture and heritage with Toronto’s community through food.

Thank you to Ani for sitting down to discuss her resettlement journey.

Thank you to May Massijeh for translating the interview.

Join Ani, Majeda and other newcomer exhibitors at Jusoors Fifth Annual Global Conference

on October Saturday 14th at 8:30AM – 4:30PM .

Kitty Shephard is the director of communications and outreach for Welcome Home TO