What's New? June 2014
In this issue: * Jobs needed for April arrivals, *Job success for Tsechu Lhamo, *Local Tibetan selected for Internship Program, *Momo business launched, *Support from Reception House, *Ottawa Tibetan Community Association formed, *A thank-you from the Central Tibetan Administration, *Comings and goings at the Board
Jobs needed for April Arrivals
Most of the 10 adults who arrived in April have backgrounds as personal support workers, hairdressers and in hotel management. Our employment leads are eager to locate apprenticeship positions that combine work in the newcomers’ areas of experience with learning opportunities that will help them become accredited for work in Ontario. The team, together with the Tibetans’ mentors, is also identifying learning options that will support their integration, such ESL or first aid training and cooking.
The Tibetans are eager to find work quickly and will take part-time work in food service, housekeeping or similar entry-level positions. At the same time, they are eager to be fully engaged in jobs and have expressed interest in continuous learning to find more permanent and engaging work to achieve this goal.
We ask all of our readers to help us identify opportunities, full or part-time, that will give the Tibetans paid work and learning opportunities.
The TRPO employment team is comprised of volunteers who assist Tibetan newcomers to locate work and training opportunities, and to connect with various agencies established to help newcomers find jobs. To support our efforts and share job leads, please contact Sylvie Plante.
Job success for Tsechu Lhamo
by Sylvie Plante, TRPO jobs co-lead
Tsechu Lhamo arrived in Ottawa in December 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management and three years of restaurant experience in five-star hotels. She is fluent in three languages, a quick learner, friendly and professional with customers.
In January, Tsechu found a position at the Marriott Residence Inn as a result of networking by our parent organization, Project Tibet Society. Within one month she was promoted to Catering Supervisor. Impressed with her work ethic, her supervisors sought out three other Tibetans to work in food service and housekeeping and Tsechu is being trained to do invoicing so that she can take over this task when her supervisor is on vacation.
In April 2014, 13 Tibetans arrived in Ottawa to join those who arrived several months earlier. Within a few weeks of their arrival, the 10 adults were put in touch with a counselor at Employment Ontario, given an English language assessment, and informed of programs and resources that will assist their integration into the workforce. These included English language classes and funding though WorldSkills for apprenticeships in their areas of experience. They were also supported by local Ottawa volunteers who serve as mentors (loptonpas in Tibetan) and hosts who provide ongoing assistance with their job search, navigating resources, and sometimes negotiating with employers.
A number of Tibetan newcomers are now working part-time in local restaurants. Happy to find short-term work that pays for rent, food and other necessities, all immigrants face the challenge of also making plans to find longer-term options that are more closely related to their personal interests and professional training. It can be overwhelming to find the right balance as one adapts to a new community and country.
One suggestion that Tsechu Lhamo makes to newcomers looking for work in Ottawa is to do the best you can when you find a part-time job, so that you impress your boss and possibly receive more hours. The rest of the time can be invested in learning new skills to fuel personal passions and build for the future. For Tsechu, this includes taking French classes so that she can be considered for more hotel positions. Longer term, she would also like to find a cooking school to pursue her interest in this area.
Local Tibetan selected for Internship Program
As part of an initiative to familiarize young Tibetan-Canadians with the workings of Parliament, the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet place a number of successful applicants from across Canada with parliamentarians for six or seven weeks each year. The program also gives them valuable work experience for their résumés. We congratulate Dawa Norbu, pictured on Parliament Hill who arrived in Ottawa in December 2013, for being one of the successful applicants. He has been assigned to work in the office of MP Wayne Marston (Hamilton East – Stoney Creek), New Democratic critic for human rights.
Momo business launched
Two enterprising Tibetans, Tenzin Tsering and Dawa Norbu, are introducing Tibetan dumplings to their newly adopted homeland. They are selling like hotcakes at the Carp Farmers' Market (Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and starting July 5 will also be available at Beechwood market. To accompany these popular treats, the pair offer chai tea and mango lassis. More good news is that they do catering for these and more. Contact Dawa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tenzin (email@example.com)
Support from Reception House
Through the kind auspices of our co-sponsor, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, the Tibetans who arrived in April were the first of the 90 coming to Ottawa to access the services of Reception House on Boteler Street, a residence and service provider to newcomers to Canada. Here they were provided with accommodation and food for their first week in Canada during which they also received an array of services such as language assessment appointments and an orientation to life in Canada. Not only does this provide a consistent and soft landing for the newcomers, it is also a tremendously efficient way of accomplishing the numerous important tasks that must be carried out immediately on arrival. Needless to say, TRPO is deeply grateful. Thanks are also due to our parent organization, Project Tibet Society, for helping to make this happen.
Ottawa Tibetan Community Association formed
The new Ottawa Tibetan Community Association (OTCA) was officially launched with the election of six board members: Dawa Ghoso, Pema Namgyal, Jurme Wangda, Dolma Dongtotsang, Dawa Norbu, and Samphe Lhalungpa. “An excellent choice of the best of the old, young and new,” commented Tashi Wangdi.
On Saturday, May 17, the board’s inaugural meeting was combined with a community picnic at Vincent Massey Park. All of the April group, many of the December group, and the three parliamentary interns balanced the chilly day by playing volleyball, soccer, frisbee, tug-of-war, and joined in Tibetan folk dance. Special guests were former MP and Deputy Speaker of the House, David Kilgour and his wife, Laura.
Jurme Wangda, new OTCA President, welcomed the four young Tibetans doing internships in the offices of MPs who are members of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, and informed everyone about upcoming events.
A “Thank-you” from the Central Tibetan Administration
Mr. Norbu Tsering, the Central Tibetan Administration’s Member of Parliament for North America, dropped in on April’s board meeting to present khatas to those present and to thank us for our efforts on behalf of Tibetans arriving in Ottawa.
TRPO board members from left: Valerie Swinton, Karen Davidson, Cornelius von Baeyer, Edwinna von Baeyer, Garrett Leaver, Virginia Taylor and Mr. Norbu Tsering, Tibetan Central Administration MP for North America.
Comings and Goings at the Board
The TRPO Board warmly welcomes new members Virginia Taylor and Sylvie Plante (Employment Co-Leads), Lynn Pfeffer (Mentoring Lead), and Edwinna von Baeyer and Lynn Hoover (In-Kind Donations Co-Leads). As you can see, we are beginning to name two co-leads in each area to share the load.
We owe a very large debt of gratitude to the retiring members who made the arrangements for the first group of 11 Tibetans to arrive, and laid the groundwork for later groups: Karen Davidson (Co-Chair and In-Kind Donations), Tenzin Wangkhang (Employment), Dawa Ghoso (Housing), Namgyal Goff (Mentoring) and Don Popadick (Fundraising Projects). We know we will be seeing them involved in future activities of the organization!
We must also give credit to the many other volunteers who support Board activities -- house hosts, committee members, a bookkeeper, and a newly energized group of a dozen mentors who give individual help to the newcomers. And of course, the first group of Tibetans to arrive is joining in to assist the later newcomers. Together we can do this!
The Board still has vacancies in Housing and Fundraising, as well as in the Co-Chair and Treasurer positions. Please contact Cornelius von Baeyer, Co-Chair & Treasurer, if you or someone you know could help us fill these vacancies. More information on these positions.