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C o m m u ni t y

“New refugees in Kitchener-Waterloo come to Sanctuary because they feel safe here and know it’s a place they can trust.”

LITTLE CANADA IN DOWNTOWN

S

hortly after the doors open at 9:00 a.m. at Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre (SRHC) located Downtown Kitchener, a handful of patients settle in to the available chairs. The centre receptionist, Canab, calls out a cheerful, “Hello, good morning! Nice to see you!” Laughter and conversation float from a hallway at the back of the building.

Li t t le C an a da in Do wnt o wn

An interpreter arrives to assist a patient for a counselling session with a social worker.

Author

Juanita Metzger Photographers

Jane Leis & Jan Muller

nurse practitioners, physician’s assistant, counsellors or settlement workers in the office. Three staff and volunteers at the front counter welcome each person — often by first name — as they verify identification and documents for appointments. When a young man shows up without a scheduled visit, they magically find space to squeeze him in later the same day.

Two children with shy smiles slide from their parents’ knees to draw on the chalkboard by the window.

“It’s like a ‘Little Canada’ every day here,” remarks Eda Dede, Sanctuary’s administrative coordinator. “New refugees in Kitchener-Waterloo come to Sanctuary because they feel safe here and know it’s a place they can trust.”

By 10:30 a.m., the bright waiting area has standing room only. Families with children, several young couples and a few older adults wait to see one of the physicians,

Their reputation as a holistic, patient-centred health provider for refugees has grown exponentially since Dr. Michael Stephenson, more commonly known to

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Own It Magazine – 2019  

Six years ago, Own It was a dream to connect people and the Downtown Community through sharing stories that are authentic. Just as our new L...

Own It Magazine – 2019  

Six years ago, Own It was a dream to connect people and the Downtown Community through sharing stories that are authentic. Just as our new L...

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