What's New? September 2014
In this issue: *Great news on jobs! *Update on arrivals, *Good news on housing, *Fundraising to date, *Distinguished Visitor, * New directions
Great News on Jobs!
All 23 adult Tibetan newcomers assigned to Ottawa between November 2013 and April 2014 are working! They have landed jobs in fields as varied as manufacturing, home care, hotel management, cleaning services, and esthetics, although some of the jobs are on-call and some folks are still under-employed. Many are continuing their English classes to improve their abilities to take on new roles.
Congratulations are definitely in order to the hard-working Tibetans, and thanks due to employers, the TRPO jobs team, mentors, and other volunteers who have worked with a variety of agencies to make it happen.
The Tibetans arriving this month will benefit from the job search experiences and learning gained by the employment team and the first two groups of newcomers. The first year of arrival is a foundation year, during which we support Tibetans in establishing connections with local agencies and government services, developing skills that match market demand, and finding work opportunities that draw on the skills and qualities that each person brings.
We welcome contacts from employers interested in the interpersonal qualities, work ethic and reliability of Tibetans – assets recognized by the current Ottawa employers of our newcomers.
Update on Arrivals
Of the 26 Tibetans assigned to Ottawa between November 2013 and April 2014, 22 continue to live in Ottawa. Two went immediately to live with relatives in Toronto, one later went to Toronto to get a specialized job, and one went to Calgary for work. Of those now settled in Ottawa, we have two married couples, one with three teenagers. Of the 15 single people, there are 5 men and 10 women.
Then on September 11 (left) and 12 (right), another six Tibetans arrived to warm welcomes. Later in the fall, one more single person and two heads of family are to arrive, with their six dependants joining them early in 2015. Once these folks are here, almost half of the 90 destined for Ottawa will have arrived.
Good News on Housing
All Tibetan newcomers who arrived between November 2013 and April 2014 are now in their own housing – 21 in five rented apartments, and one has accommodation as a live-in nanny. That is a remarkable achievement in 9 months! The newcomers’ strong social values are on display in those households – they are all helping each other out.
Fundraising to Date
Our fundraising in recent months has been keeping up with our expenses! This achievement means we have been able to keep the “nest egg” that we created in 2013 to allow us to start the project. These funds now provide our safety net.
However, our focus must continue to be strongly on fundraising to sustain the project into the future. We also continue to need in-kind donations of kitchen supplies, winter clothing, and other supplies. And we need more free housing for the newcomers first three months here while they search for work.
A specific need right now: Gently used, clean winter coats/jackets and boots in small sizes only, for men and women. (No winter boots over size 7.) Also gently used, clean winter blankets. Contact Edwinna at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a donation.
We invite you to attend our events! Look at our website for information on how to donate supplies or housing or money. Consider joining our team of volunteers. And many, many thanks to you all!
Distinguished Visitor to Ottawa
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala recently visited Ottawa. Kalon Dicki Chhoyang's family were beneficiaries of the first, 1970s program to bring Tibetans to Canada. She grew up in Montreal, and at one time led the Tibetan resettlement program in Connecticut. So she knows resettlement programs like ours from inside out!
She spoke to all the Tibetan newcomers in Ottawa at a potluck hosted by the newly formed Ottawa Tibetan Community Association. She detailed the global awareness campaign that is underway on the Umaylam or Middle Way approach to resolving the issue of Tibet. This approach sets out a peaceful way to protect the unique culture and identity of Tibet (www.middlewayapproach.org). She also extended very warm thanks to all the volunteers who have been working on the project to bring 1,000 Tibetans to Canada, as well as all those who are helping locally in Ottawa.
A Note on New Directions in Our Project
We are working to improve our operations:
- We are housing all newcomers in Reception House for their first week in Ottawa. This allows them to get through the large quantity of paperwork required and begin the orientation process. The activities during that week provide a strong foundation for the following three months when they look for work and their own housing. Reception House is part of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, our co-sponsor.
- We are beginning to use the services of the Ottawa Newcomer Clinic (another part of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants), which provides a central location for both compulsory medical tests and wider medical services.
- We are strongly encouraging all newcomers, whatever their current skills in English, to strive to get to the highest language level that they can (at least Level 6) by attending classes and practice sessions of various sorts. This will give them an important advantage in improving their job situations.
- We are initiating more active contact with newcomers while they are still in India so that they can start getting ready even earlier, through language and skills training, for the new work and life that await them.
- We have begun to integrate Tibetan newcomers in the activities of our Board and committees. For example, the Tibetans from the earlier groups, some of whom will celebrate their first year in Canada this fall, will now play more proactive roles as buddies and employment team members. They will help build a cultural bridge with TRPO volunteers and facilitate understanding of individual needs.