RRLIP Project Coordinator speaks at launch of Francophone Immigration Week - explains the RRLIP Refugee Photo Project
Speech details - at the Francophone Immigration Week Launch: RRLIP Refugee Photo Project
My name is Carol and I am the Project Coordinator of the Regina Region Local Immigration Partnership (RRLIP).
The RRLIP was launched in 2014. Funded by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), the RRLIP is a community initiative aimed at supporting Regina and those services, agencies and individuals interacting with newcomers, as they settle into their home, and become part of the community. The RRLIP is not a direct service, but assists and supports those who are directly supporting newcomers.
Part of the RRLIP’s role is to grow awareness of both the needs and the strengths of newcomers to Regina. With the assistance of community partners (participant referrals from agencies, municipal support for participant honorariums, dedication of a local professional photographer to the project etc.), the RRLIP was able to launch the Refugee Photo Project, as a meaningful way to increase the public’s knowledge about the refugee experience.
Highlighting 8 local refugees in narrative and photography, all participants were happy to share their stories and their gratefulness for a new life. They also wanted to bring attention to relatives and friends remaining in refugee camps, waiting for an opportunity to start again. A consistent theme throughout each story was the difficulty of learning the language, but the desire to learn English well in order to provide a good life for their children, in a peaceful country.
As we all know, it takes an entire community to create a culture of inclusion, and successfully welcome, integrate and settle newcomers. All Regina residents, working in partnership, can contribute to the host of resources and services necessary for successful settlement and integration. Newcomers are families, individuals and extended families with independent needs. Inclusive communities ensure that all people can enjoy full community participation – and when this occurs, we all benefit.
That is why the Refugee Photo Project became a key piece of ‘awareness building’ in our community. Community members read and experienced the challenges and successes the refugees encountered. Although the challenges were overwhelming, we learned that those featured in the project, arrived with a commitment to serving their new community and making a difference in the lives of Canadians and other newcomers, despite the difficulties they had faced.
How can a Project like this not break down barriers and preconceived notions about refugees and other newcomers? Feedback from community has been overwhelming – many share they are touched by the stories of resilience and perseverance.
We are here today to celebrate with the Francophone community, either as a Francophone community member, or as an honored guest like myself.
When first developed, the Refugee Photo Project was only available in English. The RRLIP, and its community partners, understood the importance of making the Project available in both official languages, so the Francophone community could also participate, enjoy and learn from the refugee stories in their first language.
In closing, I’d like to thank the RIF-SK for the opportunity to come and speak to all of you. In broad terms, Immigration Partnerships (like the RRLIP and RIF-SK) exist to improve coordination and collaboration between community organizations and others, to better ensure the integration and full participation of newcomers. I hope the Refugee Photo Project becomes for you, a symbol of the culture of inclusion we all want to foster in the city of Regina.
Note: The Refugee Photo Project is touring in a number of different locations in Sask. during the Francophone Immigration Week.
Survey for National Francophone Immigration Week - open until Nov 4!
Are you a French-speaking newcomer to Regina? a survey, conducted by the Association Canadienne-française de Regina (ACFR), as part of the National Francophone Immigration Week is for you!
This is your chance to have your voice heard!
The goal is to help improve the quality of activities and services offered to newcomers in Regina.
We thank you for your participation and sharing the link with your networks.