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My Canada includes refugees
Submitted by Sharmarke Dubow, Facilitator of Refugee Volunteer Support Services

Sharmarke Dubow speaking at the World Refugee Day flag raising ceremony

I was so excited. I couldn't sleep - I couldn't stop thinking about what the following morning would hold for me. I've never looked forward to July 1st with so much anticipation, and not only because Canada would be celebrating 150 years. No, it meant so much more to me. On July 1, 2017, I, Sharmarke Dubow, became an official Canadian citizen.
Getting my citizenship means stability, safety and belonging, rights and responsibilities, and finally a place to call home. As a refugee, I am grateful to have found a home in Canada. I will work hard to continue making Canada a better place - a place that I hope will welcome more refugees. Read more about Sharmarke here...

Help alleviate the global refugee crisis - one sponsored refugee at a time!
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager

In the face of the escalating global refugee crisis, have you ever wondered how you can make a tangible contribution to help a refugee identified as being high-need by the UN Refugee Agency? If you want to enable Canada to resettle more refugees under the country's international commitments to refugee protection, you may want to consider the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program. Read more about the BVOR Program.

What do previous BVOR sponsors have to say?

BVOR Sponsor, Margie Parikh
Hear from Margie Parikh who has been involved in two successful BVOR sponsorships:

Sabine : Margie, you have been involved in sponsoring two sets of refugees under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) initiative. What prompted you to get involved in these sponsorships?

Margie : Like others, I despaired at the plight of many in Syria and in other war-torn countries. My friends and I knew we could use our privilege and resources to support the government's efforts to bring people to Canada, where the refugees and their families could be safe, get a new start for themselves and their families and contribute to the richness of Canada.   Read more from our interview with Margie.
6 ways to have a memorable summer in Victoria
Submitted by Lissette Arevalo, Settlement Youth Worker

Summers in Victoria are some of the most beautiful in all of Canada. If you're a newcomer youth, it can feel, at times, overwhelming learning all of the customs and hobbies Canadians enjoy during the summer months. Youth Services has put together a handy guide on ways to enjoy your summer in Victoria and get to know Canadian summer hobbies.


1.    Register for a summer camp at ICA

Youth services offers 3 Summer day camp options for various ages during July and August. For ages 7-12 years of age in July, we offered ACE camps. ACE is a buffet of activities that showcase the best of what Victoria has to offer in the summer. Led by our Youth Service Facilitators, we took the kids to Beacon Hill Park; explored Willow's Beach and Elk Lake; and, hiked Witty's Lagoon. Some of the other highlights included learning about dogs and safe ways to approach and interact with dogs; and, visits from the Saanich Police department at Elk Lake.  Find out about the other 5 ways to enjoy summer  here.

In search of more protection for refugees
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager

Interview with Sabine Lehr in Geneva for ATCR and UNHCR
Interview with Sabine Lehr in Geneva, Switzerland at ATCR

In June, two important annual events in Geneva, Switzerland, brought together international delegations around a joint purpose: To find more protection for refugees in a world where people are on the move, driven by violent conflict and human rights violations in their home countries. The Annual Tripartite Consultation on resettlement (ATCR) and the Working Group on Resettlement (WGR) are the primary fora for dialogue and planning on global refugee resettlement. ATCR is attended by representatives from resettlement states, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other resettlement partners. This year's theme was "New Partners, New Approaches" to highlight the need for innovation to supplement traditional resettlement efforts.

Photo from the CRRF Conference
Celebrating Canada Day with a BBQ
Submitted by Amanda Gaunt, Training Coordinator
Aly Essa, our Training Facilit ator, ran a cooking class at ICA on June 30. Canadians love to BBQ in the summer, so he could not have chosen a more timely topic than barbequing for the Canada Day celebration on July 1. Twenty clients joined the class and learned how to make delicious burgers from scratch. They used a traditional charcoal BBQ for that wonderful, authentic taste. It was a beautiful day, so they were able to enjoy barbequing outside. Once all of the burgers were cooked, they headed back inside to build their individual burgers, adding the very important condiments, which included fried onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and, of course, mustard, ketchup, and relish. Everyone munched down at least one burger!
If you are planning to barbeque this summer, we recommend you try Aly's scrumptious burger recipe..  find it here...
It's time to lead (on refugees). Again. Always. 
Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager

The world is witnessing an unprecedented number of refugees. Globally, 1.19 million refugees need resettlement. A third of those are from Africa.
In 2016, in response to the crisis facing refugees from Syria, Canada took action.

Since then, Canada's commitment to the resettlement of Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) has decreased. The government has committed to resettle 7,500 GARs in 2017, compared to the targeted 24,600 GARs in 2016 (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 7). Canadians are ready and willing to sponsor refugees but they face long processing times and barriers to sponsoring more refugees. Necessary reforms need to be introduced to the refugee determination system to make the process fair and efficient. 
Learn more on the blog...
Sharing Newcomer Stories and Resources: CPN & UVic Community Map
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Do you have a story to tell? Do you know where newcomers find out about local organizations and the services they offer? How can your organization share its story of inclusion and connect with newcomers?

All of these questions can be answered using the CRD Community Green Map for Newcomers - an easy access online tool that brings newcomers and service organizations together to share, engage, and learn about one another. 
Dust off your bikes and clean up your walking shoes for Ride for Refuge!
Submitted by Basma Eddiani, Summer Student

On September 30 ICA will participate for the 4th year in the Ride for Refuge. Together we've raised $32,976 for children and youth programs. For the last three years ICA staff, board members, volunteers, community partners and clients join forces by walking or riding to raise funds for "displaced, vulnerable and exploited people."

Join us this year for an exciting ride and fun walk for a great cause! Register now to join our team or donate to help a young newcomer participate in this fun active community event !

Do YOU Speak Translate? Upcoming training available

ICA is hosting a We Speak Translate training on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 from 9:30 am - 10:30 am. Register here!  

Join us for a free training session, where you will become more familiar with the capacity of the Google Translate app as a means of connecting with new immigrants and refugees in the region. Upon completion of the training you will receive a decal which indicates to newcomers and the wider community your commitment to diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in Victoria, BC.  See our blog post...
At UVic: Symposium on migration and xenophobia

ICA's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager, Sabine Lehr, is one of the panelists during UVic's two-day international symposium on migration and xenophobia. On August 24, she will be addressing the question of "What constitutes a 'good refugee'? Discourses of legitimacy and illegitimacy in the global refugee crisis."

Throughout the two-day event, students and academics will present, discuss and reflect on their recent tour of several historical sites within the EU and Canada pertaining to how the past informs the present within the context of migration and xenophobia.

For more information and the full program, please visit:

Welcome Nabeela as ICA's newest Settlement Youth Worker
Nabeela Ramji, Settlement Youth Worker

I hold a degree in Psychology and am currently completing my Masters of Arts in Dispute Resolution at University of Victoria. My past experience has primarily involved being in a supportive role to youth and people with limited access to resources. My hopes for the future involve using mediation and facilitation practices to decrease communication barriers between individuals in conflict.  

Read our blog post from Nabeela here.
In This Issue
My Canada includes refugees
Help alleviate the global refugee crisis
6 ways to have a memorable summer in Victoria
In search of more protection for refugees
Celebrating Canada Day with a BBQ
It's time to lead (on refugees). Again. Always.
Sharing newcomer stories and resources: CPN and UVic Community Map
Dust off your bike... Ride for Refuge
Do YOU speak translate? Upcoming training available
UVic Symposium on migration and xenophobia
Welcoming Nabeela Ramji as our newest Settlement Youth Worker
What's Happening?
Community Events
September 30, 2017 
Ride for Refuge!

It's ICA's 4th year participating in the Ride for Refuge. Join one of our walking or cycling teams today. Register here. 


Take a look at our most recent statistics related to ICA Youth Programs  and resettled refugees


Have you seen Margriet Ruurs latest book? Written to the artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr. 
Purchase yours at 
ICA reception for $20. 

What's Happening?  
Citizenship Classes 
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests. 
Two Fridays per month.    

Pre-Natal Classes
Information about changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; and nutrition, diet, and lifestyle.
10 am - 11 am
Fridays, November 3, 10, 17, 24 & December 1, 2017

Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria.
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Wednesdays, August 16 - Sept. 20, 2017

Settlement Orientations in Chinese
Learn important information about Victoria
9:30 am - 11:30 am 
Wednesdays, July 5 - August 9, 2017

Baby Talk 
Learn about feeding your baby, car seat safety, baby health, dental care, immunizations and parenting. 
10 am - 11:30 am 
Fridays, September 8, 15, 22, 29 & October 5, 2017

Growing Roots Garden Project
Learn how to grow food, plant, maintain and harvest locally grown produce.
12 pm - 1:30 pm 
Thursdays, April 27 - September 28, 2017   

Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants 
Foreign Trained Professionals with information about the Career Paths Program and how it can help you to re-enter your career field and utilize foreign acquired education and experiences in the labour market. 
5 pm - 6:30 pm
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Homework Club 
Safe place to work on your homework for children and youth ages 6-18.
3:30 - 5:30 pm
Wednesdays, September 2017 - June 2018

The Meet Up
A free weekly program for newcomer teens ages 13 - 19.
4 pm - 7 pm
Fridays, September 2017 - June 2018

ICA Employment Services
If you are looking for employment or need to upgrade, ICA's Employment Services Centre can help!  

Community Events

Colours of the Orient Fashion Show
The first Filipino fashion show in Victoria. Witness the oriental colours. Featuring top designers from the Philippines.  
7:30 - 9:30 pm
July 19, 2017
Fairmont Empress

Terry Fox Exhibition
Come celebrate the achievements of one of Canada's greatest heroes - Terry Fox. 
Until October 1, 2017
Royal BC Museum

Victoria International Dragon Boat Festival Race
Takes place in downtown Victoria's Inner Harbour.  
8:00 am - 4:00 pm 
August 18 - 20, 2017
Downtown Inner Harbour

Esquimalt Lantern Festival 
Fun, free, family event featuring handmade lantern installations, local music and a parade of lanterns at dusk. Celebrate the beautify of Esquimalt, and enjoy an evening of life, art and music.  
Starts at 5:00 pm 
August 19, 2017
Captain Jacobson Park - Head St. 

Smores n' More - Campfire Program 
Share the magic of a traditional Canadian campfire. Join an interpreter and guest presenteres for songs, park stories, s'mores and more. Bring a flaslight and mug for hot chocolate.  
7:00  - 8 pm 
August 19, 2017

Latin Flavour Sundays
DJ's, live music and food in Centennial Square, get your groove to your favourite latin music.  
4:00 - 7:00 pm 
August 20 & 27, 2017
Centennial Square
Learn more here...

Victoria Fringe Festival 
A Vancouver Island festival tradition for thirty years, Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival takes over downtown Victoria BC each summer for a 12-day celebration of live performances.  
Various times
August 23 - September 3, 2017
Various locations

Coast Salish Clam Garden Campfire
Curious what a Clam Garden is? Similar to caring for a vegetable garden in your backyard, Coast Salish Nations tend beaches to make clams grow better. Join this event to learn more. 
7:00 - 8:00 pm 
August 26, 2017 
McDonald Campground

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