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One month left to get ready for school in Canada
It is almost one month away before many new refugee children will start school in Canada! Many thanks to all that have contributed to ICA's Blossoms Campaign to support young refugees and immigrants in their adjustment to life in Canada. Our summer programs have supported over 60 children and youth already. And we are only at the half-way mark!   There's still time to support! 

As you likely know, over 250 Syrian refugees have arrived to our community since last December. But did you realize that over 60% of these newly arrived refugees are under the age of 18? For many of these school-aged children, September 6 will be their first day of school in Canada.

In the mind of a child, starting at a new school can be a very anxious and uneasy experience. For many Syrian children, due to the war, their access to formal education has been interrupted. Some younger refugee children may never have attended formal school. Some have limited English language skills, and others are dealing with the trauma of living through a war and leaving their homes. All of these factors will make integrating into a Canadian school even more difficult, and could impact their potential for success in school.

With only one month before class starts in September, ICA needs your help to prepare these children and youth for school in Canada. Through your donation, we are doubling ICA's summer children and youth services. Working quickly during these rapidly changing times, we are offering a six-week theatre program for girls, and a conversation club for children aged 8-18 years old that will run three times weekly for the month of August. We anticipate between 40-60 Syrian children and youth will benefit as they learn English language skills, make new friendships, feel proud and celebrate their culture, and become prepared for the Canadian school system. You can help make this possible by donating to ICA's annual Blossoms Campaign.
"People still need help - and we need to help."
ICA's Resettlement Assistance Program Housing Coordinator, Bo Min Kang, seeks permanent housing for Syrian refugees.

How long have you worked at ICA?
I've worked at ICA since 2009; I started as a settlement worker.
What encouraged you to become the Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) Housing Coordinator

It's a long story. I never thought I would be a person who specialized in housing, and I was really enjoying my job as a settlement worker at ICA. I had a good relationship with the other RAP workers and a good understanding of the procedures, so I knew I could bring a lot to the position, but the timing seemed overwhelming and I didn't know if I would be interested. After receiving encouragement from a few ICA staff, I made a decision: I hit the send button - and that's how it all happened! Now, I don't regret the decision I made. Although the position is more intense than I expected, I am glad I could bring something to this team to help our clients resettle in Victoria.
Can you explain what your job entails?
As my title indicates, I help the Government Assisted Refugees to find permanent housing in Victoria. I work to create relationships with partners, subsidized housing providers, property management companies, and private landlords, as well as to educate the clients about how the systems work here in Canada and how to be good tenants. We want to ensure both the clients and the landlords are happy. All of the knowledge and skills I obtained in my previous position as a settlement worker are being utilized. 

Read more from our interview with Bo Min and learn how you can help here!
This year's summer camp? ACE!'d it!
Submitted by Zhiqi Jiang, Newcomer Youth Summer Camps Facilitator

In the beginning of July, ACE! Summer Camp began programming under wonderful sunny skies. During the first week of camp (July 4 - July 8), newcomer children from ages 10 - 12 were the main participants, while in the second week of camp (July 18 - 22) many of the Syrian children between the ages 6 - 10 joined in. During the two weeks of ACE! Camp, participants were involved in day-long field trips to destinations such as Witty's Lagoon to explore nature, to the BC Museum and Belfry Theatre to learn more about our beautiful community. 

Children also participated in sports, arts and cooking classes, and enjoyed daily picnic lunches and playtimes at parks. At the end of the camp, many participants reflected that they not only gained knowledge about our local community and made new friends in a multicultural environment, but...

Find out more  here!

"Having this opportunity is one step closer to becoming a citizen of the world..."
ICA's Coordinator of Volunteer Services, Liz Bean, celebrates recently becoming a Canadian citizen.

How long have you been a resident in Canada for?
I moved here in June 2010 from Southern California. I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. I grew up there and graduated from a university in Northern California and continued my education in Southern California. After I finished my schooling, I began living there on a permanent basis and lived there for 22 years.
When did you receive your Canadian citizenship?
I took the Oath of Canadian Citizenship on June 29, 2016. It took place at the Victoria Conference Centre, and what a beautiful ceremony... very emotional for me. I felt so proud. I proudly sang the Canadian National Anthem and I proudly took the Oath of Citizenship.
What was the citizenship process like for you?
It was actually pretty smooth. I applied in January 2015, and took the citizenship test in October 2015. I had my interview the same day as the test. I then received my notice to appear to take the oath in June of 2016. 

Read more from our interview with Liz here!

Yes, MAM! 11 student short films exploring masculinity and misogyny
Submitted by Paulina Grainger, Arts & Outreach Coordinator

"The fact that these young men are taking a stance and creating messaging on a subject such as this is huge progress, in fact that is the success! I never had the opportunity as a young man to talk about any of this" - Audience member

Five students, Sid Boegman, Bryce Nurding, Terrence George, Ryan Aguilar-Littleton, Angus Silver invite you to watch their completed "Yes, MAM! - Y oung Engaged Students on Men Against Misogyny videos. They address issues such as sexism, sexualized violence against women and consent. As Sid Boegman said:

"I think young men have an incredibly important role to play; namely that of supporting and uplifting women who are speaking about their own experiences with sexism and sexualized violence. While we as young men definitely need to speak out, and should do so (especially in front of male peers), we need to remember that if we speak over women as they are trying to help themselves, we will be actively hurting a movement we are trying to support. In short: listen, learn, support"  

Watch the videos here and read more from our blog!
2017 Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies

Victoria will be the host city for the 2017 Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS). "Forgotten Corridors: Global Displacement & the Politics of Engagement" is the conference theme. The Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria  will host the conference from May 15 to 18, 2017. 

CARFMS17 will invite researchers, policy makers and activists from diverse disciplines and regions to discuss the parameters of global displacement, especially the experiences of those taking routes less traveled. We especially encourage filmmakers or producers to submit video documentaries.
The conference website can be accessed here
The call for proposals is here
We ask that you please forward to anyone interested in participating. Submissions are due on September 15, 2016.
ICA looking for Arabic speaking volunteers!

ICA is looking for Arabic speakers to service as Community Connections or Life Skills volunteers. Volunteers are matched with newly arrived refugee(s) to Greater Victoria to provide orientation, friendship, support and English language practice. Community Connections volunteers are matched one-on-one with a newcomer individual or family and commit to meeting regularly for 3 - 6 months. Life Skills volunteers, on the other hand, provide short-term (e.g., one time, periodic) support for basic settlement needs.
Learn more about how you can get involved by contacting Sharmarke Mohamed, Facilitator of Refugee Volunteer Support Services at smohamed@icavictoria.org or by phone at 250-388-4728,
ext 129.

Read more from our blog here....
ICA is growing quickly, and welcomes more staff!
Jennifer King, Intake Worker & Administrative Assistant 

Twenty-three years ago, I had the opportunity to come to Canada. Being both an international student from Taiwan and later an immigrant, I have encountered both challenging and gratifying experiences in the past years. I am married, and a mother of three children who are now 17, 16, and 11 years old. Parenting is one of the most important and precious experiences of my adulthood. Besides being a mother, I decided to go back to school four years ago. I graduated from the University of Victoria with a BA Honours in Psychology and a minor in Education in 2016. However, the experiences I have had in Canada for the past 20 years have offered me many great life lessons that I could not have learned from school alone.
Now, I have the honour to work for ICA. I believe in compassion, empathy, human connection and respect for individual differences. Through my own experience as an immigrant, I have gained a thorough understanding of the newcomer's experience. During my years in Canada, I have undergone both heartwarming and challenging times. These experiences prepared me for a role at ICA. I hope to help the newcomers in the ways I myself have been helped.

Feras Saedam, Resettlement Assistance Program Worker

Hi, my name is Feras Saedam, I am Palestinian but I was born in Syria. I graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor degree in Mathematics. Later, I moved into the education field and became a certified teacher. I taught math and physics in refugees' schools in Syria and Turkey. In addition to this, I am a freelance writer and write for Arabic newspapers and various media sources in Canada.
I became a refugee three times, first as a Palestinian refugee in both Syria and
Iraq,  and then in Turkey. This hard, long, and unique experience has  changed my entire life and my career as well. I dedicate myself to providing help and advocating for refugees; as well, I have many times been a panellist and a public speaker about refugee issues.

My career focused on refugees' issues started in El-Hol camp in Syria. I later worked in Turkey with UNHCR as a volunteer and a coordinator. I have also worked as the Resettlement Assistance Program Coordinator at Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society in Nanaimo.
I like to write poetry and stories, and play music. I like traveling, meeting new people and on the top of the list, experiencing and enjoying delicious food.

In This Issue
"People still need help - and we need to help."
This year's summer camp? ACE!'d it!
"Having this opportunity is one step closer to becoming a citizen of the world..."
Yes MAM! 11 student short films exploring masculinity and mysogyny
2017 Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies
ICA Looking for Arabic Speaking Volunteers!
ICA is growing quickly, and welcomes more staff!
What's Happening?
Community Events


Save the Date


is Saturday, October 1

Join ICA staff, volunteers, clients and board members on this family friendly bike-a-thon. Register today.







Interested in supporting refugees resettle in our community on an ongoing basis? 


Build your donation into your monthly budget by making a 

monthly donation to ICA.


What's Happening?  

Weekly Settlement Orientation 
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 
Available in English: Every Wednesday 12:30 - 2:30 pm 
Available in Arabic on Wednesdays
12:30  - 2:30 pm  August 3-September 7

Youth Conversation Club  
A free 3-week program for immigrant and refugee children to learn English. Ages 8-18 years old who need support with English language learning and preparing for school in Canada.  
August 9-25, 2016

9:30 - 11:30 am 

Legal Information for Self-Employment 
Designed to provide participants with basic legal information about self-employment.  
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
10 am - 12 pm

Citizenship Classes 
Help applicants prepare for citizenship tests. 
Two Fridays per month.    

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

Community Events

Victoria Flamenco Festival
Victoria's Centennial Square is exploding with the passion and rhythm of flamenco music and dance! .  
August 1 - 7, 2016 
All Day 
Centennial Square, Beach Hill Park and more.    
Ship Point Night Market
Select weekends throughout the summer featuring artists, musicians, entertainers, and food vendors.  
Fridays & Saturdays
6 pm - 10:30 pm 
Ship Point

Oaklands Sunset Community Market
Showcases local farmers and vendors selling food, crafts, art, and jewerly. 
Wednesdays, June 22 - August 24, 2016
4:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Summer in the Square Lunchtime Concerts
Enjoy your lunch breaks this summer listening to an eclectic mix of live music.  
August 1-5, 9-11, 16-19, 23, 25, 30-31, 2016  
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 
Centennial Square

Folk Music Evening Series
A new summer series for 2016   
August 2, 9, 16,  2016
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Cameron Bandshell - Beacon Hill Park 

Eventide Music Series
A free, all-ages, accessible, outdoor series of musical performances. 
August 4, 18, 25, 2016
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Centennial Square

Afternoon Concerts in the Park
Whether you like jazz and blues, or classical, folk or swing, there's something for everyone. 
August 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, 2016
Fri - Sun 1:30 - 3:20 pm
Mon noon - 1 pm
Cameron Bandshell, Beacon Hill Park 

Gorge Swimfest
Gorge Swim Fest Society (GSFS) Mission: To promote & enable swimming in the Gorge Waterway by supporting initiatives that sustain the health, awareness & vitality of the Gorge. 
Sunday, August 6, 2016
All Day  
Banfield Park Waterfront 
Victoria Dragon Boat Festival 
Bringing communities together through Dragon Boat!
August 12-14, 2016
All Day 
Inner Harbour
Victoria Street Food Festival  
An opportunity to enjoy delicious food on the street of Victoria.  
Friday, August 26, 2016 
All Day 
Centennial Square

Victoria Symphony Splash
The Victoria Symphony performs on the shores of the Inner Harbour.   
July 31, 2016
7:30 pm - 10 pm
Inner Harbour

Shakespeare by the Sea
Daily at Fisherman's Wharf Park with performances of Othello, Much Ado About Nother, and locally-written, Shakespeare-inspired play, Richard the Lionhearted. Join on the lawn for Victoria's fifth season.   
June 28 - August 7, 2016
7 pm - 9 pm
Fisherman's Wharf Park

Summer Culture Jam with Marafani World Beat and Cheko and the Lion Rockers
Cultural event for the whole family. Caribbean and African food available. Tickets between $15 - 30. 
Saturday, August 13, 2016
7 pm - 12 am 
White Eagle Polish Association 
90 Dock St. 

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