FCJ Youth network, a youth group that has been in operation for five years. It boasts of having welcomed hundreds of newcomer, non-status and refugee youth for the past five years and still continues to do so. Our main aim is making newcomer youth feel welcomed, so they find a home in Canada, interact with peers and make friendship bonds. The group meets every Wednesday evening for an informative session at the FCJ Refugee Center, a positive place, where they share experiences, support each other and mobilize their knowledge to overcome the challenges that they face as newcomers. Besides that, the group also engages in social activities: camping, movies and sports, etc.
The group has been active with Human Rights outreach by attending conferences such as the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) bi-annual consolations and Equitas SR where they learn about their rights. They later share what they have learnt with the community through workshops, projects and art.
The same difference
This project looks at how precarious immigration status and newcomer experiences intersect with other aspects of our identities to shape how we interact with Canadian society. Through a combination of video and spoken word, this project explores how labels and stereotypes attempt to narrowly define us, while excluding us from services and social spaces. Stemming from this video, we will develop a workshop to engage youth workers and other service providers that interact with newcomer youth to raise awareness and engage in meaningful dialogue around these issues. It is our intention to promote promising practices that consider the unique social locations and needs of precarious migrant youth as they attempt to navigate essential services and institutions in Canadian society.
Toronto is known to be home to most diverse residents in Canada. The city prides itself in this but most of us -- Youth of precarious migration status -- feel less welcomed here. We often face a stigma which creates barriers hindering us from accessing social services, and sometimes causing trauma and a feeling of exclusion or other negative impacts like hesitating before seeking help. Due to this, we wanted to open a dialogue with service providers in settlement organizations, schools, shelters and other places where we wanted to bring forward an interaction on how to have a better sense of how to support us and share our experiences.
With help from the Speaking Rights initiative (by Equitas), the poem called “The Same Difference” became a video, which was then showed in an interactive, hour-long workshop for service providers working with precarious youth populations. The project involved collaborating to create a spoken word poem that addressed how stereotypes, myths, prejudices and stigma surrounding youth with precarious immigration are affecting us. The process gave us a platform to voice the many issues that we face, including ones that don’t get a lot of attention in the community and in the media.
We intend to continue using the video as an entering point to more workshops and inform the promising practices of current and future service providers when working with precarious migrant youth.
We simply voiced our realities through a video!
Thank you : Equitas
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