How housing can divide a community

by Kieran Murphy House of Isabel, a newly opened aparment complex has already sparked controversy. The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) opened the apartment block a year ago. The location in the Centennial neighborhood of Winnipeg has pitteded residents and indigenous people against each other. Dorota Blumczyńska, Executive Director of IRCOM, is

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A Safer Space for LGBT Refugees

By Matt Chang The Rainbow Resource Centre has its roots as a student grassroots group in the 1970s, but now has extended its work to helping a diverse array of people in need of welcome in Manitoba. Newcomers are a part of this diverse group, which includes refugees and immigrants, as well as international students

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The little UN of Winnipeg

By Ferdose Idris  As I look around the multipurpose room set for lunch, I notice food from all around the world. Rita Chahal laughs, “We sometimes call our lunch room the United Nations. Chahal is the Executive Director of Welcome Place, formally know as Manitoba interfaith Immigration Council, which has provided resettlement assistance to government

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Another Story

by Maddy Pauchet Yahya Samatar’s red sweater is zipped up to his neck, and he stands in a corner of the room, swarmed by journalism students who bombard him with questions. “Why did you leave your home?” “How did you get to Winnipeg?” “Did you come straight from Somalia?” To each question, he gives a

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Martha Stewart for Refugees

by Francesca Billington “I love Martha Stewart so I buy Martha Stewart comforters.” Rita Chahal flips over the plastic package–a blue and green polka dotted comforter inside–to check the label. “Yes! This is Martha Stewart.” Chahal is the Executive Director of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council in Winnipeg. We’re standing next to bunk beds in

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Lessons for refugees include the plight of Indigenous people

By Rose Gilbert When the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) opened in a predominantly indigenous neighborhood in 2016, it created tension between Canada’s oldest and newest residents. “We essentially came as settlers,” said Dorota Blumczynska, the IRCOM Executive Director. She explained that before IRCOM moved in, the apartment building housed local indigenous

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Crash-Course Canadians

By Allison Light Around fifteen adults from all over the world sit in a bright classroom, eyes fixed on their teacher, Anita Sharma, who has spent the morning teaching them about navigating health issues and resources in their new home country. They’re at the Altered Minds Inc. Entry Program headquarters, where about 5,000 of the

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“Sham” Meets Damascus

By Francesca Billington Ahlam Dib bounces her 11-month year old daughter in her lap. Sham, Arabic for “Damascus”, smiles and points to her mother’s plate for more food. Sham was born in Altona, but her seven siblings—two sisters and three brothers—were born in Damascus and lived there with their parents until 2012.  Ahlam owned her

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Against Hardship, a Garden of Joy

by Matt Chang Dieudonne Mbarushimana has made a home in Altona, Manitoba for eight years against all odds. Mbarushimana, 43, is a Burundian refugee with a disability: He is paralyzed from the waist down. He fled to Tanzania in 2003 when he had been falsely accused of being an anti-government rebel. One unfortunate day, he

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