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Island Health - Providing health care services to refugees
Take a moment to learn more about Island Health's role in providing health care services to resettled refugees.  

Island Health - Providing health care services to resettled refugees
Island Health - Providing health care services to resettled refugees

ICA says "thank you" to Fig Delicatessen
ICA would like to say thank you to Yasser Youssef and his team at Fig Delicatessen for their hard work and generousity over the past year by providing gift baskets of goods and food to newly arrived Syrian refugees. We are grateful for the continuing support of all of our community partners, and it is because of people like Yasser and his team that we are able to create such a welcoming and inclusive community for newcomer immigrants and refugees. From everyone at ICA - thank you!

ICA's CEO, Jean McRae (left), with Fig Delicatessen Owner, Yasser Youssef (centre), and RAP Manager, Elie Kozma (right). 
"Every place is our village and every person is our family." An interview with a Tamil family who fled civil war in Sri Lanka
Submitted by Kate Longpre, Community Integration Coordinator

Tamil Heritage Month is celebrated for the first time in Canadian history this January, 2017.  Take a moment and learn about Tamil culture, Tamil refugee history as it relates to Vancouver Island as well as an interview with a Tamil family living in Victoria.    

Janaki is a Tamil who immigrated to Canada with her husband in 1998 to escape the civil war in Sri Lanka. Janaki and her husband came to Canada asindependent skilled immigrants.  Janaki was trained as a lawyer in Sri Lanka and was an outspoken human rights advocate.  Janaki's husband was trained as an engineer. With promising careers, family and friends, and a love for their birth country, Janaki and her husband would never have left Sri Lanka if it wasn't for the civil war. Janaki and her husband arrived in Yellowknife where members of their family ere living. As Independent immigrants, they received no resettlement support from the government. It became apparent early on that their skills and credentials from Sri Lanka would not be recognized in Canada which made obtaining employment in their respective fields challenging. Through their resiliency, determination and hard work, Janaki retrained as a Montessori and early childhood educator and went on to complete her Masters in Early Childhood Education.  Read more here...
Addressing human trafficking in Greater Victoria
Submitted by Steven Lorenzo Baileys, Community Development Coordinator

Photo credit: Isidoro Emmanuel

Human trafficking is a global problem and Greater Victoria is not immune to it.
On December 6 and 7, 2016, a two-day workshop addressing human trafficking was presented in partnership with the BC Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP), and the Community Partnership Network (CPN). Representatives from First Nations, municipal governments, health providers, women's groups, youth, police, immigrant settlement agencies, and others were in attendance.  Participants learned that human trafficking and exploitation includes illicit activities such as:
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Forced labour or services;
  • Slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude; and
  • The removal of organs
The west coast of Canada is both a major transit and a destination point for human trafficking. Canada is also a source of trafficked persons and has experienced cases of domestic trafficking within its borders. Due to the hidden nature of this crime, most human trafficking activities are often undetected or unreported. Often the most vulnerable populations in our community become victims of human trafficking. These vulnerable groups include: Aboriginal women, temporary foreign workers, youth and newcomer immigrants and refugees.

Read more from our blog  here.   See photos from the event on our Flickr page.

Launching into our 2017 youth programs at ICA
Submitted by Lennard Fruehling, Youth and Family Support Services Coordinator

These are exciting times for the Youth Services department here at the ICA as our team grows with a new Youth and Family Support Services Coordinator and another full-time Youth Services Facilitator who is currently being hired. We are also in the process of adding two more programs to our already excellent roster of programs.

The last year was wrapped up with great success after some of the youth attended the Fresh Voices Conference and we started preparing for an engaging year in 2017.  

The new year is starting with four new programs! Already launched was the Connecting Hearts Through Arts program, which empowers newcomer young women to express themselves creatively while building a community of support. The inspiration is high around this program, both among the facilitators, Salma Eddiani and Ekta Kudale, and all the participants. We are able to see the first artistic results already!  

Read more on the blog here!
Gung Hay Fat Choy
The Lunar New Year in 2017 falls on Saturday, January 28, bringing in the Chinese year of the Rooster  .

East Asian Lunar New Year celebrations are, or were historically, based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar (occurring in late January or early February), and include Chinese New Year, Japanese New Year (prior to 1873), Korean New Year (Seollal), Vietnamese New Year (Tết), Mongolian New Year (Tsagaan Sar), and Tibetan New Year (Losar). Southeast Asian and South Asian traditional lunisolar celebrations are, or were historically, observed according to the local lunisolar calendars and include Burmese New Year (Thingyan), Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey), Thai New Year (Songkran), Vishu (Malayalee New Year), and many others.

New Year festivals are centuries old and traditionally a time to honour deities and ancestors. Look for window and door decorations in your community or partake in local festivities and help to celebrate the year of the Red Rooster!

Find out more about the 2017 year of the Rooster here.   Or visit our blog.
The Victoria Chinatown Lions Club is looking for performers and volunteers
The Victoria Chinatown Lions Club is looking for performers and volunteers for their  Spring Festival on Saturday, February 25 from 10 am - 3 pm!

Included in the event is a Dim Sum Café, Chinese brush painting and lantern making, Chinese treasure market place, cultural stage performances, and more! Admission is free.

The Victoria Chinese Lions Club encourages anyone interested in volunteering or providing a musical or dance performance to please contact Gayle Bye at gayleis@shaw.ca

REACH! Performing programs bursaries available
REACH! performing programs for children, youth and adults have bursaries available for new immigrants and refugees. Please note, the two children's groups have been combined into one REACH Children's Choir, ages 4 - 12 years old on Thursdays from 5:30 - 6:15 pm.

West Coast REACH! Association is a new, registered non-profit organization on lower Vancouver Island, established to "nurture, inspire, empower, inform and unite people of all ages, cultures, faiths and abilities (including special needs) through the power of the performing and visual arts."

For more information contact 250-882-4339 or visit  www.westcoastreach.org
ICA welcomes new staff
Albert Akoury, Youth Services Facilitator

Hi! My name is Albert Akoury and I have only recently moved back to Victoria after 6 years of studying and working in Montreal. I just completed my bachelor's degree in International Relations and I'm enthusiastic to see what kind of career path my studies will lead me down. Aside from my interest in Canadian and global politics, I enjoy exploring the town, reading a good book, and playing all kinds of sports. Currently, I'm a member of two Volleyball clubs and try to play drop-in Soccer whenever I have the time.  Read more about Albert!

Ella Autajay, Administrative Assistant, Employment Services

My name is Ella and I am from Manila, Philippines. I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and majored in Communication Arts.

I have worked for a multi-national financial institution where my skills in client services and office administration were honed and introduced me to clients from different walks of life.

In September 2008, I immigrated to Canada with my husband and our two lovely girls. I was a homemaker for six years, and was waiting for my children to attend school full-time when I started to volunteer in our parish office. Read more from our blog.

Hanan Al Ashal, Childcare Worker (Casual)

Hi! My name is Hanan Al Ashal. I'm originally from Libya, I moved to Canada in 1999. I am a mother of three beautiful daughters and I am married to a wonderful husband.
I have a degree in Arabic Literature and a certificate In "Professional Development for Family Child Care Providers." I am also a graduate of ICA's English Program.
It gives me great pleasure to work for an organization such as ICA which supports the needs of immigrants and refugees in Victoria. I accepted this job because I believe
I can contribute to settlement of new immigrants to Canada. I will dedicate my time to provide high quality service to children and parents attending ICA. Find our more about Hanan.

Lennard Fruehling, Youth and Family Support Services Coordinator

I have been working in various roles in child and youth care, activities coordination, outdoor and environmental education, leadership education and youth empowerment for the last five years after graduating with a degree in Geography and Political Science in 2010. I am inspired by education that empowers individuals to find and cultivate their passions and callings and links those to a purpose, in service to the improvement of our world. I have been developing a unique mentorship approach over the last two years with which I accomplish this, and I am committed to developing and facilitating programming and designing educational systems that foster this approach. I work with a global perspective and have been working with people from all over the world. Continue learning about Lennard!

Lorena Alvarez, Childcare Worker

Hello! My name is Lorena Alvarez,  I moved to Canada in 2007. I completed my English and my Community, Family, and  Chil Studi es program at Camosun College. I also completed an Early Childcare Educator or Assistant (ECEA) BC certificate. While studyi ng at Camosun, I volunteered at different organizations  i ncluding ICA, the Francophone Society, and  Leadership Victori a. In   201 5,I became a casual childcare worker at ICA and now, I have full-time employment as part of the  childcare team. Read more.

Sara Kabesh, Administrative Assistant, Language Services and Reception
In This Issue
Island Health - providing health care to newcomer refugees
ICA says "thank you" to Yasser Youssef
"Every place is our village and every person is our family"
Tackling human trafficking in Greater Victoria
Launching into our 2017 youth programs at ICA
Gung Hay Fat Choy
Victoria Chinatown Lions Club is looking for performers and volunteers
REACH! performing programs bursaries available
ICA welcomes new staff
What's Happening?
Community Events

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



2017 Inter-Faith Calendar 
Price reduced to $15. 
Purchase available at ICA reception. 


What's Happening?  
Weekly Settlement Orientation 
Important information to help newcomers settle in Victoria. 
February 8-March 15, 2017
Wednesdays 12:30 - 2:30 pm 

Rent Smart
Learn about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. 
March 20 - March 31, 2017
10 sessions
9 am - 10:30 am   

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

Prenatal Classes
Topics covered include changes to a woman's body during pregnancy; fetal development; nutrition, diet and lifestyle; labour and birth; breastfeeding and baby care; and hospital tours.  
February 24 - March 24, 2017
Fridays, 10 am - 11:30 am  

Youth Community Placement
8 week program for newcomer youth ages 15-25 to build bridges between the community.Make new friends and be an active citizen. 
February 7-March 28, 2017

Seniors Walking Group
For 55+ who enjoy walking. Join our walking group and explore Victoria on foot.
February 7 - March 9, 2017
Tuesday & Thursdays, 10 am - 12 pm  


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

C ommunity Events

Friday Night Social
All ages and dance levels welcome. Big dance floor and great ambience. Come for a lesson, social or both. Cost $15. 
Friday, February 3
110 Caledonia Ave. 
World Drum and Dance Festival
VACCS hosts Black History Month Canada 150 Drum and Dance Festival focused on diversity and inclusion. 
Saturday, February 4, 2017
1 pm - 9 pm 
Dave Dunnet Community Theatre
2121 Cadboro Road

Black History Month Events
Celebrate Black History Month with various events bringing together communities and highlighting numerous special events and celebrations. 
February & March 2017
Victoria Film Festival 
Celebrate VFF's 23rd year of hosting unique films for everyone. The festival will paly over 120 films this year. 
February 3-12, 2017
Various locations

Stolen Sisters Memorial March 
Gather to remember and honour Indigenous women, girls and 2spirit people who have gone missing and been murdered. March will gather at Our Place. 

Fuego Nights Valentine Style
Live band Miguelito Valdes & his friends and DJ Moses "El Pachangero". 
Saturday, February 18, 2017
8 pm - 1 am
Tally-Ho Sports Bar & Grill  

2017 Dine Around & Stay in Town  
Tease your taste budges during this dining event with over 60 participating restaurants. Restaurants offers 3 course menus from $20-50 per person. 
February 17 - March 5, 2017
Various Victoria restaurants  

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