One of the truisms in the non-profit world is that when you help women, the entire family benefits. After a successful year with the Syrian Online Support (SOS) English Conversation Circle pilot via WhatsApp, I started to think about what I could do to make it better. I wanted to expand the program beyond Syrian women and to provide them with both educational opportunities and recreational activities to facilitate their smooth integration into their community, and by extension their families. However, I could not do it on my own so I thought about which organizations I would approach. Family Services Toronto and Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services came immediately to mind.
So, we met and discussed how we might address our collective clients’ needs and challenges. CultureLink could provide an English Conversation Circle, Family Services could deliver important workshops critical to newcomer mothers and Access Alliance would offer larger space and childcare. Together we could provide the tools, resources and services our combined clients needed that we were unable to offer alone.
We have developed a year-long pilot project which introduces these newcomers to various workshops and recreational activities to help them practice their English, meet new friends, get the supports they need and learn more about their new country. IRCC has been very supportive of the program. They regard the partnership as key to providing client-centred programming which will help each organization improve their efficacy, impact, and sustainability.