Celebrating 40 Years of Refugee Sponsorship
Submitted by Quinton Gordon, Manager, Strategic Engagement

I'm combing the aisles of the Damascus Food Market, looking for Syrian coffee, when Salem's smiling face greets me warmly, and he extends his hand toward me, clutched in it, a package of Hamwi Café Classic. "Boil it for a while, with sugar," he explains.

Mohamad Salem Ajah and his wife Marwa Ataya arrived in Victoria as refugees from Syria in summer 2016. They had fled the conflict in their homeland, leaving behind their homes and the successful businesses Salem had built up, importing lumber, since starting his first business at 18 years of age ... read more
Seeking Solutions for Racism, Hate Crimes and Islamophobia 
Submitted by  Steve Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

What is a Hate Crime? What is Islamophobia? Why have incidents of racism, hate crimes and Islamophobia been on the rise in Canada? What can our community do to address Islamophobia? 

These questions and others were explored during the April 24 Forum on Racism, Hate Crimes and Islamophobia, a forum which brought together community members and leaders to explore and seek solutions to these troubling topics ... read more
Culture Day: Where Do You Belong? 
Submitted by Gita John-Iyam, Family and Youth Services Coordinator

Where You Belong Youth Market
Where Do You Belong Youth Market

On March 26, the youth program of ICA, along with students in Community, Family and Child Studies at Camosun College, brought a cultural experience to the Lansdowne campus. Hosted in the Indigenous gathering space called Na'tsa'maht, our program tied together important universal aspects of culture: food, dance, music, fashion, language, and art... read more

Discovery Education Learning Experience
Submitted by Julia Zhou, SWIS Worker

In April, some of the SWIS team members participated in the Discovery Education Learning Experience, in partnership with Saanich (SD63) School District. We were invited by Ms. Monica Braniff to join them for an interactive professional learning experience... read more
Workshops and Training for Newcomers

From Seniors Groups to Pre-Natal Class, Citizenship Preparation to Job Search, ICA offers all kinds of workshops and training sessions to help newcomers to Canada... Learn more. 

ICA LINC Program: Squiggle Park
Submitted by Sika Patton, Head  Instructor

Many LINC 1 learners come to ICA without any reading or writing skills in English and sometimes not in their first language. Students need to learn about the shapes and sounds associated with English letters. Then, they begin to learn how to put letters and sounds together to read and write words. This process requires a lot of practice and hard work. Technology can help to make the process of learning to read tailored to an individual's needs.
In spring 2018, ICA students started using the online Squiggle Park reading program. In this program, students start with letter recognition and move up over several months to reading and spelling complex words. Students generally use the program once a week on laptops in their classrooms. Many continue to practice at home as well. A by-product of this approach is that students learn basic computer skills, which are new for some. 

Of course, this is only one example of the many ways students learn and practice literacy skills in LINC classes. Learn more about English classes at ICA. 
Welcome to ICA: Tim Blake

Tim Blake
Employment Services Manager
"It is key that we continue to welcome immigrants from all career backgrounds in order to meet the labour market needs locally."

Tim Blake brings over 23 years' experience working in immigration, not-for-profit, and the employment services sectors. 

He has been responsible for overseeing employment service sites and meeting the requirements of provincial and federal government contracts. He has specific expertise in settlement and youth employment services, as well as extensive background in marketing and job development services. 
Tim's recent experience has been overseeing and managing WorkBC sites for the past seven years, where he has also been involved in multiple employment services portfolios and has executed successful employment hiring fairs and events. 
Join Reach! Diverse-City Singers

REACH! Diverse-City Singers  is a non-auditioned, weekly, multi-cultural music and singing group for all adults and youth, ages 15+ who love music and the opportunity to learn from those of different cultural backgrounds.... read more.
Art Exhibit: Between Two Worlds 
 Submitted by Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of  Refugees Manager

Between Two Worlds is an exhibition of more than 50 watercolour paintings by Farid Abdulbaki. Most were created while Farid lived as a Syrian refugee separated from his wife and three children in Berlin, Germany. 

Opening will take place on Friday, May 24 from 6 pm to 9 pm. The exhibition continues on May 25 and 26 from 12 pm to 4 pm. 

Errant Art Space, 975 Alston Street, Victoria.

You can preview Farid's work here
Looking for Billets: CCR Spring Consultation 
Billets Needed: May 30 to June 1

The Spring Consultation of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) will take place May 30 to June 1 at the University of Victoria. 

In our role as chair of the Local Organizing Committee, ICA is urgently looking for a few more billeting opportunities in case there are persons who are unable to pay for accommodation while attending the Consultation.  Frequently, these are persons with refugee backgrounds and/or persons working with refugee support organizations that are unable to provide travel support to their staff.  

If have a separate bedroom available and are interested in providing a billeting opportunity for a CCR participant for three nights, please email Todd Kitzler or call 250-388-4728 ext. 115. 

Learn more about the Consultation here.

Stay Up to Date: Follow ICA on Social Media! 

With so much happening at ICA every day, and so many ICA team members involved in community events and activities, it is hard to keep up! 
An important part of feeling like you belong in a community is knowing what is going on and being able to participate in activities that are interesting to you. 
ICA can help you stay on top of what is happening in our community - just follow our social media channels! 
From Community Partnership Network seminars, ICA events and workshops, We Speak Translate training, and ICA job postings to the latest to news, events, and festivals with a multicultural theme - you'll find it by following us on:   
Facebook,   Twitter ,  and  Instagram .  

Employment Resources 

Did you know?

ICA is a Work BC Employment Services Centre? We have a full suite of services for all your employment needs, including a variety of workshops and programs.

Citizenship Classes 
Help for applicants who are preparing for the citizenship test. 
Settlement Orientations in English
Learn important information about Victoria and Canada.
Wednesdays, 1pm - 3 pm
May 15-June 19, 2019

Settlement Orientations in Chinese
Learn important information about Victoria and Canada.
Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
May 15-June 19, 2019
WORC for Women
Workplace Occupational Readiness and Connections (WORC) for Women Program provides 8 weeks of part-time, in-class training, plus workplace experience / job placement and employment counselling and support.
Start date to be announced. For more information, call 250-388-4728 ext 141
or email Laura Guarin, Employment Services Case Manager.

Women's Health and Yoga Group
Come and practice yoga. Beginners welcome. Learn about how to stay healthy. Registration required at ICA reception. Daycare is not available. LINC 2 or higher required.
Wednesdays, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2019
June 5, 2019 

Mentorship Program
Mentoring matches skilled immigrants with local professionals in related careers to help them learn about their professions in Canada.

Prenatal Class
Information about changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet, and lifestyle; labour and birth; breastfeeding and baby care; and hospital tour.
Fridays, 10 am - 11:30 am
May 24, 31, 2019
June 7, 14, 21,  2019

Mom and Baby English Class
Come and learn English with your baby! Make friends and learn about the community in these special classes for moms.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30, 2019
June 4, 6, 2019

The Meetup Youth Drop-in 
Bi-weekly social program for newcomer youth ages 16 to 21. 
Learn more   

West Shore Meetup Youth Drop-in 
Bi-weekly social program for newcomer youth ages 16 to 21.
Learn more   

The Landing Spot 
Free drop-in program for newcomer youth aged 8-13 and 14-18+. One-on-one homework support, games, arts, sports activities.  Registration required. 
Wednesdays, 3:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Continues until June 26