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August & September 09 •

Volume 2 • Issue 5 • w w • 905.521.2875




“Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.”

Ontario Child Benefit Increase on The Way ∞ Read on page 3

Ramadhan And The Sanctification of The Soul ∞ Read on page 15

International Literacy Day

Smoking May Speed Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms ∞ Read on page 16 Genocide Against Aboriginals ∞ Read on page 18

Iranian Candlelight International Day of The World's Get Together Indigeneous People National Aboriginal Day Celebration June 19-21, 2009

International literacy day is cele- In Support of Democracy brated the world over on Septem- In solidarity, Iranians and friends in Hamber 8 ilton Ontario came together to add their Today one in five adults are still not literate and two-thirds of them are women while 75 million children are out of school. Since its foundation in 1946, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) bas been at the forefront of global literacy efforts and is dedicated to keeping literacy high... ∞ continued on page 5

voices to the denouncement of the electoral results that took place in Iran on June 12th, 2009. The Voice in Diaspora was there to capture the display of patriotism and demand for fair play, justice and accountability from their leaders, by Iranians residing in Hamilton. Many dignitaries among who are NDP MP Christopherson; Executive Director of SISO... ∞ continued on page 5

∞ continued on page 1

∞ Read on page 7, 8 & 13, 14

Another Summer Solstice cycle had arrived and there is no better way to welcome it than to celebrate with the Aboriginal Community in Hamilton. June 21 marked the summer Solstice and amongst the Aboriginal Community that is a very important day. ∞ continued on page 3

∞ Read on page 9, 10 & 11, 12

Newcomer Family Centre

2511 Barton St. E., Hamilton, ON L8E 2X1 (905) 561-2039

Downtown Office 360 James St. N Lower Concourse Hamilton, ON L8L 1H5 (905) 667-SISO (7476)

Programs and Services




The Voice Editorial August/September 2009 It is difficult believing the Voice in Diaspora is nearing its second birthday. What an incredible journey it had been to achieve this feat! Before each edition, many hours and even days are spent pondering over which topics or stories to include in the paper. Honestly, it requires a lot of effort, but since writing is my hobby, I take the burden as a pleasure, and never let it bother me. Not forgotten is the many disappointing phone calls we make to solicit adverts. However, we remain grateful to the un-wavering support we receive from our partners. We have included sponsorship letters to solicit donations from friends and well wishers to help expand the work we are doing with the community. We would continue to research interesting topics to share with our numerous readers, knowing our stories help to educate and enlighten many. As we enjoy the summer months with family and friends, may we remember the less fortunate amongst us and lend a helping hand. It is not how much we acquire that defines our success, but how much that was used to better the lives of others. “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little” (Franklin Roosevelt) Veronica Chris-Ike Publisher/Editor


Business And Corporate Services

FOR EMPLOYERS AND RECRUITERS Access Global Skills and Talents

Reduce Hiring and Turnover Costs Youth Centre

Mountain Office

1030 Upper James St., Hamilton, ON L9C 6X6 (905) 385-6192

Improve Staff Morale and Productivity

24 Main St. W, Hamilton, ON L8P 1H2 (905) 527-2049

Mobile Office

Location and route at

(905) 667-SISO (7476) or 1-877-255-8136


Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

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Food Bank - My Precious Memories It has been nine years since I used a food bank last. Memories of days of hopping from one Hamilton Food bank to the other in search of baby diapers and other household necessities remain ever green in my memory. Along side this memory is the gratefulness to all those good individuals who donated food items to the food banks for people like me to benefit from. It is not a shameful thing to admit to my readers that I once benefitted from the services of food banks. Rather, I leave the embarrassment to whoever thinks it is. By sharing my experiences, I know I encourage those of our neighbours, friends and well-wishers who had fallen on hard times, and who now find themselves patrons of food banks. Remember, just like

was told treat food bank patrons differently when they appear well-dressed, and affluent in supposedly ‘donated’ clothing.

me, no condition is permanent. Those that know me today would hardly believe how needy I was during my early years in Canada. Being entrusted with the upkeep of five minor children, on the meagre welfare cheque that hardly leave me any change after paying for accommodation, I was left with no option than to visit Hamilton food banks. Survival was my utmost agenda, and I researched very well how to add that ‘elusive’ bread to our breakfast table. I blindly and unashamedly pursued whatever means to get ‘extras’. I devised a strategy that ensured weekly supplies of household items and other necessities. I knew the dangers of visiting all food banks same week, and that is being left with little or no household items the rest of the month. So, my strategy was to go to St. Matthew’s House first week; Salvation Army the following week, and then Good Shepherd the third week; and I have now forgotten which food bank catered for my last week of the month. I remember designating one multi-coloured ‘fish-wife’ winter jacket as my official visiting apparel to these food banks. The idea was to maintain and present the same appearance to service providers, who I

Reminiscing on how important those food bank donations meant to my family then, it makes me forever indebted to the gratitude of Canadians. Now that the table has turned positively for me, I still cannot shut out the thoughts of those old days. I did not have much, but the little I had was received with gratitude to God, and to Canada. My family never wasted food then, and my children ate whatever I was able to provide for them. Today, the reverse is the case. I feel guilty seeing the amount of food waste my family throw away every garbage day, and I can never stop the guilty feelings. I know that there are many people in Canada, not to mention those living in developing countries who cannot afford decent meals. Having shared all these, the message underlying this frank topic is for people to reflect back to the old days when good-natured individuals contributed to their welfare and up-keep, and to reciprocate the kind gesture through support for our Food banks and other similar agencies. Appreciation could be in form of volunteer work or financial contributions to ensure no one is left hungry and starving in Hamilton. Now is the time to rise up, and do the right thing. Please adopt a food bank! ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

National Bank Financial Group (NBFG) Donates to SISO New Dawn Reception House Ontario Child Benefit Increase On The Way Another year has arrived for the National Bank Financial Group to celebrate their anniversary. This year is special and a milestone; it is National Bank’s 150 years of great service to the Hamilton community. They chose the theme for the anniversary as Diversity. 150 years in the making and NBFG has finally arrived to make a difference, starting with their employees by helping them recognize and embrace diversity, thereby reducing or/and eliminating prejudices in the workplace. To compliment their theme of diversity, this year NBFG

pledged a financial donation to Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) New Dawn Reception Centre. A week prior to the New Dawn’s official opening, employees from both SISO and NBFG volunteered their time to do landscaping on the entire front lawn and entrance areas. Within a matter of hours, the front of the New Dawn Reception Centre had transform into a beautiful, colorful, vibrant oasis of different flowers and plants. Indeed they transformed the New Dawn into an ideal atmosphere

Beginning this month, low-income families will receive more money through the Ontario Child Benefit to help with the cost of raising their children.

to welcome new refugees from all walks of life. With this new donation from National Bank Financial Group, SISO New Dawn project to house new refugees that chose to call Hamilton home is closer to being realized. It was a joyous moment to see the giant-sized cheque presented to SISO by the manager of National Bank as their contribution to see diversity is sustained in Hamilton through the services and programs SISO is providing and would continue to do in years to come.

The benefit will reach 1.3 million kids and is almost doubling to a maximum of $1,100 per child this year, up from a maximum of $600 last year. Parents don't need to apply for the Ontario Child Benefit - to be eligible they must: · File their income taxes · Register for the Canada Child Tax Benefit · Have a child under age 18 · Live in Ontario The Ontario Child Benefit is the cornerstone of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, which aims to break the cycle of

■ Stephen Murphy

poverty by giving families and children the support they need to reach their full potential. The strategy sets a target of reducing the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over 5 years -that's 90,000 kids. QUICK FACTS • Families with an annual income of $20,000 or less will receive the full Ontario Child Benefit for each child. Those earning more may also be eligible, based on the number of children under 18 and the family net income. • Funding equivalent to the maximum Ontario Child Benefit is also provided to children and youth in the care of children's aid societies. ■

The Voice in Diaspora 571 James Street N. L8L 1J8 Hamilton, Ontario Tel: 905.521.2875 - Fax: 905.385.8085

Our Mission Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.

Publisher/Editor Veronica Chris-Ike

Art & Creative Design

...Continued from page 1

National Aboriginal Day Celebration The Summer Solstice is the longest day of sunlight for the year. For many cultures and beliefs this is a very important day for harvesting. Some cultures also celebrate similar event like the Aboriginal people here. An example is the gath-

Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing Stephen N. Murphy Tel: 905.521.2875 ext. 3408

Contributors Nica Brown , Veronica Chris-Ike, Hussein Hamdani, Stephen Murphy, Arvind Singh, Jihan C. Aydin, St. Joseph's Immigrant Women Centre, Dr. Mohamed Khattab SISO (Settlement And Integration Services Organization) The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is free of charge. Publication will be done Bi-monthly. 10,000 copies will be printed and distributed as follows: 1000 copies mailed to stake holders, 6,000 copies dropped into personal mail boxes; 3000 copies will be distributed to businesses, shopping malls, churches, Non-profit organizations, adult learning Centres, etc, in Hamilton and environs. The views expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this newspaper. All rights reserved. The Voice in Diaspora is not responsible for accuracy of information provided by advertisers and contributors. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited. Some graphic images may be used via with respect to its rightful owners under the Creative Commons Licencing.

ering around Stone Hedge in Northern Europe and at other destinations. Publicly, the Aboriginal Community has been celebrating the summer solstice for 15 years in the general Hamilton area. That first event was held at Eastgate Mall on Centennial Parkway in East Hamilton. Through the years, the festival and celebration moved to different locations,

ranging from Sir John A McDonald Secondary School; Bay Front Park, City Hall and presently at Gage Park. When the celebration was held in Sir John A McDonald School and City Hall premises, it was a one day event and lasted only for five hours. Overtime, the celebration had extended from a one day event to a three day festival that is well organized and community involved. The name that was given to the festival at onset was ‘Indian Solidarity Day’. The three days festival was fun-filled, with performances, shows, and interesting vendors. Special vendors from the Northern regions of Ontario were brought into Hamilton to display cen-

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tury old traditions especially birch bark canoe making. Other vendors displayed Aboriginal merchandise, food, literature and other important information. This festival drew a crowd of diverse population curious and eager to experience the taste of different culture within their place of abode. There were live performances on stage and their performances injected spirit of joyous celebration in the air. Many school children were not left out from the celebration, and the smiles on their smiling faces said it all. ■ The Voice in Diaspora

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Saskatchewan’s New Immigration Strategy Strengthens Communities And the Economy nominated by Saskatchewan in 2008-2009, whose investments are expected to generate 400 new jobs in the province. The SINP plans to nominate 250 entrepreneurs over the next two years, to create approximately 900 new jobs.

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has been steadily building its reputation as an immigration destination in Canada. Significant investments have been made to its Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) and towards immigrant settlement services in recent years, helping to develop a strong immigrant community in the province. Now, the Government of Saskatchewan has unveiled a new immigration strategy to build on this progress, entitled “Strengthening our Communities and Economy.” The focus of Saskatchewan’s new strategy is to improve upon current immigration programs by undertaking new initiatives to create jobs and renew communities. In 2009-2010, the province is investing an additional $2.69 million in immigration, to better attract entrepreneur immigrants and skilled workers, and to provide them with enhanced settlement and integration supports, both before and after their arrival. Saskatchewan’s labour market maintains a great need for skilled workers from abroad, despite the global economic climate. The provincial economy has remained solid, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. To keep it going strong, an element of the new program is to encourage newcomers to establish or purchase businesses in

the province through the Saskatchewan’s Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) Entrepreneur category. The program will be divided into several streams, focusing on participation with science and technology-based companies and with the farming industry. It will also feature a component that will link Saskatchewan business owners who are nearing retirement with immigrants who have business ownership and management experience. “We’re working to sustain our economic momentum and secure Saskatchewan’s position as a leader in Canada and around the world,” said Saskatchewan’s Immigration Minister Rob Norris. “By welcoming newcomers who are ready to invest in Saskatchewan businesses, we are investing in our province’s future.” 109 entrepreneurial immigrants were

human history.


...Continued from page 1

International Day of The World's Indigeneous People Geneva 1982, the UN working Group of Indigenous Population held their first meeting together to address the historical injustice the indigenous people have faced throughout the centuries. Following the initial meeting of 1982, in 1994, the General Assembly decided that the InIntternational Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on August 9th. For 2009, it falls on a Sunday. There were many reasons for this decision, but the fundamental motivation was the Assembly’s recognition of the need to place the United Nations clearly and strongly behind the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, in order to put an end to their marginalization, their extreme poverty, the expropriation of their traditional lands and the other grave human rights abuses, they have faced and continue to encounter. Indeed, the suffering of indigenous peoples includes some of the darkest episodes in


Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

Important as it was, proclamation of the day was only a prelude to a greater milestone: the adoption by the General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. It sets out a framework on which states can build or rebuild their relationships with indigenous peoples. The result of more than two decades of negotiations (drafting started in 1985), it provides a momentous opportunity for states and indigenous peoples to strengthen their relationships, promote reconciliation, and ensure that the past is not repeated. Member States and indigenous people are encouraged to come together in a spirit of mutual respect, and make use of the Declaration as the living document it is so that it has a real positive effect throughout the world.

United Nations & Indigenous Goals Additional assistance was brought in by the UN General Assembly when they had proclaimed 1993 as The International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. Within that same year the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People for 1994. The goal of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People was to strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education & health. The UN General Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. Goal of the Second Decade is to continue the mandate from the first decade and include other aspects of concern such as culture, social and economic development by w w w.thevoiceindiasp

A new application process will be introduced for the Entrepreneur stream of the SINP in October 2009. In terms of strengthening communities, the new strategy will facilitate access to pre-arrival information and planning services, as well as connections to community services and specialized language and employment assistance in Saskatchewan. Plans are also underway to assist immigrants with Saskatchewan’s credential recognition systems. “Ultimately, our plan is about neighbours, not numbers,” said Minister Norris. “Immigrants do much more than increase our population; they help create more diverse, dynamic and cosmopolitan communities, while strengthening our labour market, stimulating economic investment and cre-

means of action-oriented programs & specific projects, increase technical assistance and relevant standard-setting activities.

Key Facts About Indigenous People • Indigenous Peoples have been estimated to be more than 370 millions of individuals living in more than 70 countries distributed in all regions of the world

ating jobs.” Saskatchewan’s Immigrant Nominee Program has grown significantly in recent years. Last year, the province nominated 2,914 individuals for fast-track Canadian Permanent Residency. This year, they have increased their targets to 3,400 nominees, which, with spouses and children, would translate to nearly 10,000 new Saskatchewan residents in 2009-2010. “Quite simply, this new strategy draws on our multicultural heritage to strengthen our communities, create greater prosperity and foster new jobs in Saskatchewan,” said Minister Norris. “When you can bring people together with different backgrounds, cultures, world views and ideas, they all have something special to contribute.” Largely thanks to immigration, the population of Saskatchewan is currently at its highest number in over two decades, at 1,027,092. The provincial population grew by 3,282 people in the first quarter of 2009, nearly 2,000 of which were from outside Canada. ■

study indigenous plant knowledge and specific plants used by native/indigenous healers. Works Cited From: esa/socdev/unpfii/en/news_internationalday2008.html ■

• There are at least 5000 different indigenous groups in the world, representing different cultures of the existing diversity of our planet. • Indigenous peoples represent over 4000 different languages of the 6700 languages that are believed to exist today • The Amazon River Basin is about 7 per cent of the world’s surface area but harbors more than half of the world’s biodiversity. The Amazon River Basin is also home to about 400 different indigenous groups. • More than 100 pharmaceutical companies are currently funding projects to


CEP CEP-23 2322

Hamilton’s NDP MPs wish to thank the ethnic and immigrant communities for their contributions to strengthening our city!

Chris Charlton, MP

David Christopherson, MP

Hamilton Mountain

Hamilton Centre

Wayne Marston, MP Hamilton East Stoney Creek


Representation that’s working for you

Senior’s Healthcare, Support Services & Financial Benefits Information Fair – By Hamilton Council on Aging The time has come for our community to show deep interest on matters affecting the aging population in Hamilton. On June 4/2009, the Hamilton Council on Aging demonstrated once more their commitment to helping seniors live worthy and respectable life, by organizing an information fair in Jackson Square Mall Hamilton. Key to that day’s activity is to create awareness on issues affecting the aging senior in our communities. It is factual that approximately 16.6% of seniors are living at or below the poverty line in Hamilton. Also, Hamilton has a large culturally diverse senior’s population experiencing barriers to services. Many seniors have raise concern with Hamilton Council of Aging about the barriers they are facing in accessing services and programs, and as a result, this organization has step in to help mitigate some of the hardships. Hamilton Council on Aging believe in team work and hence organized

the venue to bring all the service providers and other stake holders that partner with seniors to share information and exchange ideas. The information fair for seniors organized by HCoA had vendors from all different areas of the Healthcare field. Among them include those from the Canadian Hearing Society; St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre; North Hamilton Community

...Continued from page 1

To get involved with HCoA or for more information contact the webpage http:// ■

Iranian Candlelight Get Together

...on national, regional and international agendas. However, with some 776 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills, literacy for all remains an elusive target. UNESCO’s literacy programs aim to create a literate world and promote literacy for all.

...Morteza Jafarpour; Executive Director of HCCI, Madina Wasuge, and the Project Coordinator of Hamilton Council on Aging Jahan Zeb , were present at candle light get together.

This year, International Literacy Day will put the spotlight on the empowering role of literacy and its importance for participation, citizenship and social development. Literacy and Empowerment is the theme for the 2009-2010 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade.

Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy. Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA). A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning: literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development.

The Voice in Diaspora spoke with some of the participants during the fair, and the general opinion there was the need to champion seniors’ interests, and make life

Overall, the information fair was a complete success, gaining much attention and awareness from the Hamilton media and community.

...Continued from page 1

International Literacy Day

Why is literacy important?

Health Centre and a host of others. Many that attended the information fair were not disappointed as there were many helpful and informative materials that explained the services and programs that target the seniors.

worth living for seniors through reasonable services and programs. Their goals and messages were the same across the stands at the fair and this reinforces the goal of the fair organizer HCoA. is to be a positive reinforcement for the elderly. Some of the seniors the Voice in Diaspora spoke to during the fair were happy at the attention being drawn to senior issues in our community. They were thankful to HCoA for organizing such an event and hope the general public will be will informed of issues facing many seniors in the community, and hopefully, a lasting solution would be worked out. Some of the seniors were faced with mobility issues and would like to stay active as long as possible. Dell Home Health Care was one of those present at the fair, and their represented quoted and said “Our services and products are here to aid the elderly by providing instruments of assistance that allows them to remain independent and mobile.”

cent or a population of more than 10 million people who cannot read nor write. Eighty-five percent of the world’s nonliterate population resides in these countries, and two-thirds are women and girls.

This June 29th candle light event held at Gore Park was also to create awareness about the individuals that lost their lives in Iran during the election protest, and to demand respect for the sound and clear choice the people of Iran made as to who governs them. The Iranian people want justice and equal rights. They want a government that respects and listens to their people. Those that gathered at the event feared that another four years of the ‘same style’ of governing will amount to more chaos and corruption in Iran. ■ Stephen Murphy.

At the community level, special activities are being planned to promote literacy and life-long learning and to celebrate local literacy achievements. Activities include learning centre open houses, community reading festivals, celebrity readins, literacy displays and fund raisers, and literacy awareness initiatives aimed at local media. Works Cited: shtml ■

UNESCO’s literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) is a global strategic framework for the implementation of the United Nations Literacy Decade (20022012), in order to meet the Education for All (EFA) goals, with particular focus on adult literacy and out-of-school children. It was created when it became apparent that existing literacy efforts would not be sufficient to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015. LIFE targets the 35 countries that have a literacy rate of less than 50 perw w w.thevoiceindiasp

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


The Benefits of Giving

When most people think of giving, they think first of donating money but this is just one form of giving. You can also dedicate yourself to a greater cause such as, ecology, equality and social justice. When you connect yourself to something bigger than you, then your life can have new meaning and purpose.

Giving to charity is recognized as important by various faiths, spiritual traditions and philosophies. It forms the foundation of reciprocal understanding of human relationships where your responsibility is extended in an ever-increasing sphere of concern. You have a responsibility to your personal well-being, to your family, and to help those in need. Childhood is characterized by the struggle for independence but as an adult you learn the importance of interdependence. In the workplace this is characterized by working effectively in teams. In family, couples learn to work together to nurture and cherish their individual and collective dreams. At a global level, the environmental movement, mass media, social struggles for justice, integration of trade, travel and cultural exchange have shown how interdependent one part of the world is upon another. At a spiritual and ethical level, interdependence is based on an understanding of our basic oneness – that even with differences of race, class, gender, ethnicity, belief, and language, we are essentially one in our shared experience. A practical way to bridge divisions is through an act of sincere generosity from the capaciousness of your heart.

A generous heart gives freely without any expectation of gain. Nevertheless, the mere act of giving can elevate the donor as your mental self-image is elevated from someone with little or nothing to offer to a person worthy of making a contribution. Giving in essence is beneficial both to the recipient and to the donor. In the case of the receiver it offers tangible improvement in their material condition, while for the giver it offers psychological and spiritual benefits. Many donors feel better about themselves at a psychological level. Or their heart, symbolically considered the seat of human emotions and spiritual growth, feels lighter through care, kindness and service dedicated to something or someone outside of their own self. Through charitable giving, a tight-fist, restricted heart or closed mind are slowly and gently opened. From a spiritual perspective, the act of generosity is best when it arises from higher aspirations, from a place of truly wanting to serve others, or to make the world better in some way, rather than ego impulses based on public recognition or fame. Outwardly of course, either motivation can still serve a purpose by offering aid or sustenance to someone in need. With the benefits of giving to both the giver and receiver, how can you give? You might feel restricted in giving due to fear of lack or that you have little or nothing to

offer. Yet each person has a unique set of talents and gifts, which they can contribute to make a difference in the life of another person. When most people think of giving, they think first of donating money but this is just one form of giving. You can also dedicate yourself to a greater cause such as, ecology, equality and social justice. When you connect yourself to something bigger than you, then your life can have new meaning and purpose. U.S. President Barack Obama made this clear in his 4 June 2005 “Knox College Commencement Address.” He stated: “Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. ... Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” So what are you hitching your wagon to? Many charitable organizations, humanitarians and politicians and ordinary citizens dedicated to a greater cause have created change within themselves and outside. Besides the elevated benefits of giving, it also has practical benefits. A practical form of giving is to donate your time through volunteering. Many non-profit, charitable and community organizations depend on volunteers to generously donate their time. At SISO, a unique opportunity to give back is through

Living Rock Ministry Bringing Hope to the Youth kind-hearted receptionist who mans the front desk. The duty of the receptionist is to take down the youth’s information and provide a counselor who gives a confidential assessment of the youth to help identify his or her peculiar needs. The initial room that is used to assess the youth is very conducive for that kind of first encounter because it is very welcoming. Our environment is adapted to be ideal because we have found that many youth that come into the centre are affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and under that influence, the simplest distraction could bother and interfere with a youth’s focus. After the youth had been assessed at the ‘Assessment’ room, we move to the ‘Rock’s Crisis Room’. The Crisis Room is utilized to discuss crisis of any sort. Youths raise their concerns in this room with the attended councilor and/or volunteer. Crisis stories might range from a ‘new baby’s ultra sound’ concerns, to someone getting full time employment at an outside job. The Crisis Room is used for discussing and addressing both positive and negative information.

August 12th is designated by United Nations as World Youth Day. There are many organizations that provide services to Youths in our Community; however, the work of the Living Rock Ministry stands out tall amongst others when it comes to the quality of services they provide to the youth in downtown Hamilton. The goal of this ministry is to reach out to youths in trouble; those seeking re-direction in life; and those suffering from any kind of abuse. The Living Rock Ministry is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 in downtown Hamilton by Alan and Karen Craig. On one hand, Alan’s background on the streets, and later his experience working with incarcerated youths provided The Living Rock Ministry the edge and advantage to reach out to youths. Karen on the other hand, had a B.A. in social work and this comes handy when assisting today’s youth dealing with so many societal issues. The Living Rock Ministry provides a safe haven for many street- involved and at-risk youths in Hamilton downtown core. No wonder many youths from diverse cultural backgrounds arrive daily at the ministry in search of financial, social and spiritual guidance. In recognition of the UN International Youth Day (Aug. 12) The Voice in Diaspora met with the events co-coordinator Karen Craig to get an inside view on how The Living Rock Ministry is actually sustaining and assisting our Hamilton youths and steering them to the right direction. Excerpts of the interview with Karen


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Craig, read on. In the earlier days of the Living Rock Ministry, accommodations to assist youths were limited. But due to determination and focus, The Living Rock Ministry has been able to obtain two side by side buildings that allow them to assist any number of youths that may walk through their door. When a youth walk through the Living Rock Ministry for the first time, they are provided with warm welcome by a w w w.thevoiceindiasp

The Living Rock Ministry has many programs for the youth, but the most successful is called, “Tri-Rock”. The Tri-Rock program consists of two 8 weeks employment periods where youths get a chance to earn minimum wage while contributing to their immediate community. Some youths begin with jobs from within The Living Rock Ministry, like kitchen maintenance and other minor duties as present within the ministry. Each week, from Tuesday through Thursday, Gail conducts cook-

the HOST program, which is a befriending program. Volunteers can help newcomers through giving time for conversation, provide information on the local area, and offer mentorship on their occupation. Newcomers benefit from having a friend and contact person who can help them feel at home in their community. For more info on the HOST program and how you can participate, you can contact: Kim Brown (SISO East): 905 561-3508 ext. 3614 Natasha Petit (SISO Downtown): 9 0 5 667-7497 Kerline Naudet Dorcely (French) 9 0 5 667-7476 ext. 3380 kdorcely@sisohamilton. org Giving affirms the dignity of the receiver in being uplifted and it confers dignity on the donor through affirming your capacity to give. You have something unique to offer in your talents, skills, money or time. So consider now: “How can I be of service?” ■ Arvind Singh is Writer of “Nexus (Novel)”and upcoming “The Law of Attraction: Making it Work for You.”He is Resource & Employment Specialist with SISO.

ing classes for the youth. The aim of the cooking class is to teach the youths a life skill that might eventually lead to a hospitality job or career in the future. The Living Rock Ministry is not short of ideas and creativity that captivates the youth and lead them to responsible adults. Recently, they came up with their in-house currency that the youth earn after a good deed, and can redeem to buy clothes and other items from the ministry store. Some of the deed could be for showing up to the ministry; helping with chores; and even by completing surveys and interviews. After my interview with Karen, I had the opportunity of being shown the ‘Gathering Room’ where I met with Pam the Coordinator. She is responsible for conducting and overseeing all the activities within that section of the building. The gathering room is used in the morning for the breakfast program. Each morning, innercity youths come together in that room to have full nutritious breakfast. The Gathering Room is also used for other activities during the day like floor hockey, computers and art/dance. Indeed, The Living Rock Ministry provides solutions to the many life issues our innercity youths are faced with in their daily lives. They direct the youth to the right directions that promotes their self worth and help them achieve balance in both human and spiritual endeavors. Any youth interested to learn more about other programs at the Living Rock Ministry are invited to visit them at #30 Wilson St. (at Hughson). Happy Youth Day Celebration! ■ Stephen Murphy

Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 2 • August & September 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

Letter from the Editor When as mothers we think about education, our thoughts turn to our children. We wonder if they’re getting the best quality of learning at school. We hope their teachers are as invested in nurturing their young minds as we are. And if university or college is an option, we worry about how we are going to help pay for it. Putting our children first is natural. But what about investing in our own education? Seeking out new information and developing new skills not only improves our own life, but that of our families. It also increases our options and helps us steer our family in new and exciting directions. Last month I had the pleasure of attending the graduation of our first-ever Financial Literacy workshop. I congratulated the 19 graduating women for taking the first important step towards managing their money in Canada. The seven-week workshop never promised to make them rich. But it did give them something valuable: knowledge. By

learning about making a budget, applying for a mortgage and borrowing money in Canada, the women were taking control of their financial futures. Success is not always measured by a degree or diploma. It can be defined simply by the opportunities we create for our families. Also, education does not always have to start in the classroom. Or end with a graduation. It can happen in an information session, online, during a conversation. It can also happen by reading this issue of the Women’s Press. In our second issue, we focus on education – for us and our children. We explore issues like full-day kindergarten, school-readiness and micro-credit from the perspective of women and families. For those interested in learning more about their legal rights in Canada, we’ve introduced a new section by Hamilton lawyer Deepa Dayal. We hope to make this a regular feature, but need your legal questions. Please send them to

Also on the legal front, there is a piece about the new Legal Advocates at the Women’s Centre of Hamilton. LINC students tell us what they would study if they could go back to school and IWC participant Sayeda Ferdousi writes about a very special role model who has inspired her own quest for knowledge. Finally, check out the new LINC levels we’ve added to each article to help guide instructors and English learners. Find them next to our Pop Quizzes. Happy learning everyone! Ines Rios Executive Director Immigrant Women’s Centre

Please send feedback, letters and submissions to: Or call Dana at 905-529-5209 ext. 257

Come hear from local employers about: • What makes an application stand out • Who they choose to interview • What they want to hear in a job interview • What common mistakes to avoid Sessions will run in August and September. For more information or to register, contact Dana at 905-529-5209 x 257

Women are talking about...

Natalie, Legal Advocate and Neelam, Legal Coordinator, collaborate at the Women's Centre of Hamilton to support women as they navigate the legal system.

Community Dispatch New Legal Support at the Women's Centre of Hamilton Natasha Dobler, Clinical Coordinator, Women's Centre of Hamilton The Women’s Centre of Hamilton is a starting point for women. Whether you are new to Hamilton or new to Canada, we assist women in connecting with the right service. A New Home for an Established Centre For over 25 years, the Women’s Centre of Hamilton has been enriching the lives of women by providing support, resources and advocacy within the Hamilton community. Recently, the Women’s Centre of Hamilton relocated to 100 Main St. East, Suite 205. With that shift, we have developed new programs and services that are responsive and inclusive of the diverse needs of our community. Legal Advocates: Helping Women Through the Legal System Our newest venture is our Legal Advocacy & Resource Centre for Women. Legal Advocates assist women in navigating through complicated and often difficult legal systems including contact with police, legal aid, family law, criminal law, immigration law and finding a lawyer. Starting in September 2009, the Women’s Centre of Hamilton will be offering a Legal Advocate Drop-In service for women on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A Legal Advocate will be available to women, without an appointment, as a starting point to provide information, discuss options, and connect women to services. Interested in Becoming a Volunteer? To complement our Legal Advocacy & Resource Centre for Women, we are currently seeking dynamic and dedicated women to become Court Support Volunteers through our intensive Peer Support Training Program. If you are interested in any of the programs or services offered at the Women’s Centre of Hamilton, call us at 905-5220127.

If you could study anything, what would it be?

Rosa Eugenia Canales

May Shi

Shirangani Jayatunge

“I would like to study to be a dentist. I have always been interested in this profession. I would like to help people keep their mouths clean and give them a special smile. I would make dentists more accessible to people by lowering the costs.”

“I would like to go to McMaster University to be a nurse. Canada needs more nurses. If I can help sick people, that would make me happy. Good health makes people happy.”

“I would like to study to be an administrative assistant and learn all the functions of that job. Then I would like to go further and study Human Resources. My long-term goal is to be a Human Resources Manager.” w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Kolsom Abbasi “I want to study to be a teacher. I would like to teach kids because my country needs more teachers for kids. I would like to teach here or in my country.”

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 2 • August & September 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

In Her Own Words

Legal Q & A

With Deepa Dayal

“Begum Roquiah: A Pioneer of Muslim Women’s Awakening and Liberation in Bangladesh” A Role Model: Today I want to tell you about a very important person who is a role-model in my life. She is a role-model to all Bangladeshi women. Her name was Roquiah Shakhawat Hussain, commonly known as Begum Roquiah. Liberating women through education: She was a notable Muslim feminist, a prolific writer, educationist, and social worker in Bangladesh in the early 20th century. She played a pioneering role in awakening Muslim women in undivided Bangla. The Muslim women of Bangladesh at that time were very restricted, neglected and oppressed. She real-

ized that women could be free if they were educated and allowed to become economically independent. She established the first school of Bangladesh aimed at girls which still exists today. This school gave lessons in the Quran. They also gave lessons to the students in Bangla, English, Urdu, and Persian languages; home nursing; first aid; cooking; sewing; physical exercise; and music. It was at her repeated requests that the government set up the Muslim Women's Training School in Calcutta. She encouraged women to make crafts which would permit them to be economically independent. The Power of the Pen:

1. What are two things Begum Roquiah did in her life to help empower women?

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2. What subjects were taught at the school Begum Roquiah established?

Local lawyer Deepa Dayal answers questions from readers about issues important to women and immigrants.


Immigrant Women’s Centre LINC student Syeda Nadira Ferdousi writes about an inspirational rolemodel.

She also used her pen to target social prejudices, religious bigotry and ignorance. Roquiah wrote in a number of genres — short stories, poems, essays, novels and satirical writings — to save the women from this discriminating situation. She died on December 9, 1932 but her legacy lives on. Begum Roquiah will always be remembered for her generous and compassionate role in the women's movement of Bangladesh.

Discussion: Who has inspired you?

Women’s Health Matters Live Healthy - Have Cancer Screening Tests! By Tricia Hack, Public Health Nurse, City of Hamilton

As women, we lead very busy lives and we often do not take the time to take care of our health. As a Public Health Nurse, I talk to women about how to stay healthy in order to do what they want to do, help their families, and accomplish their goals in life. Many women do not know that they need to have breast screening and regular Pap tests to stay healthy! Ask for Breast Screening. Every woman should be familiar with how her breasts look and feel. If you notice any changes, such as a lump or dimpling, changes in your nipple, fluid leaking from your nipple, skin changes or redness that don’t go away or any other changes, talk to your doctor. Most changes are not cancerous, but should be checked right away. Breast screening tests can find cancer early while it is small and less likely to spread. Women 50 and over should have a mammogram (breast x-ray) every two years. Women age 50 and over can call 905-389-0101 for a free mammogram at the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP). In Hamilton we have 4 OBSP sites: 1. Hamilton Regional Centre, Sir William Osler Health Institute 2. Hamilton Health Sciences, Henderson General Hospital 3. St. Joseph’s Centre for Ambulatory Health Services 4. St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Breast Imaging Centre, Charlton site Have Regular Pap Tests. All women should have regular Pap tests to prevent cancer of the cervix (opening part of the uterus) within three years of first sexual activity. Pap

tests can find cell changes before they become cancer. Even if you have not been sexually active for a long time, you still need to have regular Pap tests up to at least age 70. It is also important to have Pap tests if you are a woman who has sex with women. You can ask your doctor for a Pap test at your check up. If you don’t have a doctor, some walkin clinics provide pap tests by a female physician. Also, women ages 40-69 can call the Mature Women’s Health Program at 905-573-4849 for a checkup. If you speak Chinese, Urdu, Punjabi, or Arabic call Public Health Services Women’s Health Educators at 905-546-3540 to arrange for free health presentations and language support for screening appointments. Both men and women 50 years and over should be screened every two years for colorectal cancer using a Fecal Occult Blood Test or FOBT. Talk to your doctor about any of these diseases. For more information on breast, cervical and colorectal screening please visit: www.hamilton. ca/cancer Taking care of yourself is something you do for the people who love you and need you. But most of all, do it for yourself!

“If a newcomer woman is sponsored by her husband and needs or wants to leave the relationship, how will her immigration status be affected?”

A: If a woman is sponsored by her husband to come to Canada, then her status would be of a permanent resident and her immigration status would not be affected if she leaves the relationship for any reason including abuse. As a permanent resident, she has a right to apply for social assistance benefits such as Ontario works (OW) or Ontario Disability Program (ODSP). This is not considered a breach of the sponsorship agreement. A sponsorship agreement is a contract between the sponsor and the government. When a husband sponsors his wife to come to Canada both of them must sign a sponsorship agreement. By signing the Sponsorship Agreement, the sponsor promises to support the sponsored person and ensure that the sponsored person’s basic requirements are met. Basic requirements include food, shelter, clothing, fuel, utilities, household supplies, and health care. By signing the Sponsorship Agreement, the sponsor also promises that the sponsored person will not need to apply for social assistance. The sponsor promises to “respond promptly to requests for help

from the sponsored person… by giving money, buying items or providing services for their living expenses.” However, sponsorship agreement clearly states that ”Sponsored persons and/or their family members who are being abused or assaulted by their sponsors should seek safety away from their sponsors, even if this means that they will have to apply for social assistance benefits. A sponsor cannot force Citizenship and Immigration Canada to remove you from Canada.” - Deepa Dayal practices law in Hamilton and specializes in the areas of civil, family, immigration, employment and administrative law. She was born and raised in Delhi, India. She can be reached at Deepa Dayal Law Office, Suite No. 107A, 100 Main Street East. Contact her by phone at 905-523-7171 or e-mail at --------------------------------Do you have a legal question for Deepa Dayal? Please send it to The deadline for our next issue is September 1.

Material adapted with permission from: Cancer Screening: What You Should Know, Promoting Cancer Screening in Chinese Communities, Cancer Care Ontario and Canadian Cancer Society.

1. What are the names of the two cancer screening procedures described in this article? 2. How often should women 50 and over have a mammogram?

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Discussion: Do you make the time to take care of your health? Why or why not?

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

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Photo used with permission from St. Joseph's Healthcare, Mature Women's Health Program, Centre for Ambulatory Health Services.

The Women's Press Continues on Page 13 & 14

International Youth Day Catherine Maybrey Yesterday I taught a girl the meaning of the word “inspire.” She was participating in an English Conversation Circle, and was absorbed in painting a beautiful picture, when I asked her what inspired her. She didn’t have an answer, but then we often can’t identify those moments or exchanges that give us our greatest ideas or have a strong impact. Working at the Globe, I see youth who are inspired every day when they grasp a concept from their volunteer tutor in Homework Club, find their first job, apply for college or university, see a beautiful piece of fabric in Sewing Club, or make a new friend in Club d’Amis. After observing our kids for months, I have come to realize that we strive to inspire them, but they are truly the ones who are inspirational, and we are just lucky enough to be there to share in it.

Our youth have travelled thousands of miles, from countries around the world, to settle in Hamilton with their families. After arriving, most of them have to learn a new language, culture, and entire way of life. Despite the difficulties they face, these kids are showing great determination and inspiring their peers with their hard work. Over the past school year, we had our first group of college and university applicants. These youth exceeded our expectations, securing positions in competitive programs at colleges and universities throughout Ontario and winning scholarships and bursaries to help them pay for their tuition. With their individual successes, they have gone on to inspire other youth to explore their career options, to research scholarships, search for jobs, and to study English during the summer months in order to reach their goals.

Globe Dodges Disappointment in T.O. By Alex Ozer On June 6th, 2009 an amazing event took place in Toronto. 10 host agencies from the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Hamilton Area collaborated in organizing the largest ‘Host Dodgeball Tournament’ the Golden Horseshoe area had ever seen. The tournament was a complete success due to substantial and equal effort given by all organizations involved including: (BNRC) Brampton Neighborhood Community Centre, (EMYS) East Metro Youth Services, (LEF) Learning Enrichment Foundation, (NCP) Newcomer Centre of Peel, (NSY) Newcomer Services for Youth, (PMC) Peel Multicultural Centre of Peel, (TNC) Thorncliffe Neighborhood Centre, (CCS) Catholic Cross-Cultural Services, (WMRCC) Women’s Multicultural Resource & Community Centre, and (SISO) Settlement & Integration Services Organization. The Host Dodgeball Tournament took place in Toronto at the Ryerson University Main Gym. 18 youth from the Globe Youth Centre were able to attend the event. This was a great opportunity and a fun experience for our youth as we traveled to Toronto on a GO Bus and then continued our travel to Ryerson University on the Toronto subway system. Most of the youth from the Globe had never been in Toronto and

In preparing to celebrate International Youth Day, I was struck by how much our youth have accomplished, and the ways in which our youth have set about achieving their goals. The news paints a dreary picture of a world that can’t seem to get along; with countries and factions constantly fighting, and a seeming unwillingness to work with others. Then I look at our youth, and I am so proud of the ways in which they constantly demonstrate a sense of global citizenship. At a recent Book Club, for example, youth came from many disparate backgrounds: Arabic, Somali, Korean and Chinese. The only language they had in common was English, and at varying levels. Despite their cultural differences, the youth eagerly exchanged ideas, helped each other with pronunciation and meanings, and showed an appreciation for each person’s knowledge and

experience as they exchanged stories. Differences seemed to disappear as their common goals bonded them together. And so, rather than writing about how youth can become inspired, or how adults may inspire our children, I thought that for this International Youth Day it was high time to say thank you to our young friends for inspiring us and showing that no obstacle is insurmountable, no divide is too great to be crossed. Hamilton should be immensely proud of our newcomer youth. At the SISO-Globe Youth Centre, we are privileged to play a part in helping the next generation reach their potential. Well done everyone! ■

The Camp Maple Leaf Experience

had never taken a subway in their lives before. Seeing the CN Tower grow in front of our eyes as we entered Toronto was a memorable experience that we will not forget for a long time. The tournament itself was an immense success with non-stop Dodgeball games happening throughout the day. Icebreaker games took place in the morning portion of the event. There was also a mural on which all the youth contributed, a Nintendo Wii station with games projected on a big projector screen and of course……… more Dodgeball.

By Mohamed Ibrahim On July 5, 2009, 104 newcomer youth, ages ranging from 8 to 21, embarked on a weeklong camping trip that changed their lives. The Globe’s first ever summer camp took place at Camp Maple Leaf, situated 20 minutes north of Peterborough. Camp Maple Leaf, located on a beautiful island, had all the necessary facilities

the participants as everyone benefitted from the informative observation of foreign cultures. The camp was an amazing experience and thanks have to be given to The Globe staff for their tireless effort. The logistical challenges along with the day to day details challenged all the staff to bring out their best. The summer camp experiment

A series of 3 games per team led us

straight to a heated and intense playoff series that lasted for the entire 2nd half of the day. The day had started with 2 referees per game and by the end had increased to 10 referees per game. Rivalries were created, alliances had been made and in the end the final was a showdown between 2 SISO teams. SISO youth, taking first and second place, left the tournament with the Championship belt. The Belt is now proudly on display in the Globe Youth Centre for all to see and will be in SISO’s possession until next year’s tournament when we will have to defend our title as the “Undisputed Dodgeball Champions of the Host World”!!! ■

and the youth really enjoyed their stay. The youth, some of whom had never left the city of Hamilton, were treated to a fun filled week that included activities such as canoeing, rock climbing, swimming and hiking among many other things. The inclusive environment of the camp allowed newcomer youth to bond, make new friends and enjoy their experience. The youth came from all types of backgrounds and this was evident at the talent show where performances ranged

was immensely successful and the only complaint heard was on the last day, “can we stay one more week?” ■

from Arabic belly dancing to Indian dancing. The diversity also helped educate all w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


World Peace And Security A Fundamental to Human Existence

ening of violence. Not until we are able to identify the richness of our resources as possibilities for change, we will be ravaged by our proposed limitations. Freedom is the ability to make the right choices (Tsolu, 2009). • Are we making the right choices every day? • Are we only thinking of ourselves?

Peace and security is seen to be one of the fundamentals of human existence just as healthcare, shelter, clean drinking water and education. Humanity for many decades has been plagued with painful and tragic events. We often question why genocide, dictatorship, war and terrorism, tribal/ethnic violence have sent deeper waves through our circles of existence. There has been a world cry for peace for as long as such catastrophes have existed. The purpose of this article is to expound on the definition for peace, the reason for the need for peace, and provide some recommendations on who is responsible for bringing about peace. Peace is defined as freedom from civil disturbance, a state of security or order within a community provided by law or a state of pact to end hostilities between those who have been at war (Merriam Webster, 2009). As populations continue to grow, there will be increased tensions on limited resources, increased inequalities will continue to drive man to compete, oppress and control others, and injustices against humanity will continue to persist. Will the dreams and desires of the international community for global peace ever be realized in our generation and the next generations to come? Who is really responsible for putting a stop to all the destructions from enmity between humans? The physical, emotional and mental damage from political and ethnic unrests have been underrated. For this reason, many of us living in the comforts of our peaceful societies tend to be even more out of touch with the realities beyond our borders. It is more harmful to be indifferent towards violations of human rights because ignoring the problem does not make it go away. “The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything” (Albert Einstein). What you do not know comes to hurt you. Fighting for peace is more personal than you think. Sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives have lost their lives through wars/conflicts. Today, we continue to enjoy the peace so gracefully and generously provided by people brave

• Whom should we hold accountable? • What is the impact you have had in your own capacity, wherever you are? • DO NOT wait until ‘tomorrow’ because you may not live to see that day. • How well have you used the opportunities around you to pave the way for others? • Are you grateful for what you have or do you think it is your Right? (Tsolu, 2009)

enough to shed their blood. Tomorrow will be no different and it may be your loved ones who will have to give up their lives for future generations. Peace will dwell within the boundaries of a country or a continent if it first resonates from within you and me. It is common to observe that people that are passionate about peace are the ones whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by conflict. They are the ones who have the courage to point out the problem, they are open to share their painful experiences and thereby persuade others to provide solutions for people affected by conflict. Other influential individuals, international organizations and governments in their own capacity have also provided insurmountable resources to promote, protect, provide, and fulfill the rights of people affected by conflict around the globe. However, this is just a drop in the bucket. The fate of millions of people around the world depends on a greater effort to promote and ensure sustainable peace. What have

you done in your own little way to contribute towards this global effort? Are we consumed by our material possessions, our social status and our economic conditions so much that we have forgotten how valuable life is? Not until we become at peace with ourselves will we see peace elsewhere. As the saying goes, “fight the enemy within to fight the enemy without”. When we become firmly grounded in our identities, when we become content with what we have, when we willingly hold out the torch to each other out of selflessness and love, when we see the true value in humanity, then we will all rise up to defeat our enemies. We can only free ourselves to bring change to others when we let go and live for others. The key to world peace lies within us and this key is not within the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, Western countries or within a few individuals. We have abounding resources and yet our failure to identify the agencies that lies within us continues to enslave us to a rude awak-

If we truly believe that all humans are fundamentally equal, then it requires a global effort to bring an end to atrocities against humanity, and relinquish evil powers that rob many of their security. Pharr (2005) states that, “If we can understand that the Right uses divisiveness to destroy our vision of inclusion, then we can learn that our most effective work of resistance and liberation is to make connections, both politically and personally” http:// txt. It is therefore necessary that a cooperative effort is established within the international community, governments, civic society, the media and individuals in attaining peace. That everyone involved in this process come with a greater sense of responsibility, accountability and a great sense of imagination to solve a great problem. Therefore take this opportunity to get onto the wagon of the International Day for Peace so you can be that vehicle for change. ■ By Abla Tsolu BA., MA References Merriam Webster Dictionary (2009). Retrieved July 7th, 2009 from http://www. Pharr, S. (2005). Divisions that kill: The enemy without and within. Retrieved July 3rd, 2009 from divisions-that-kill.txtThe Women's Project of Little Rock, Arkansas Tsolu, A. (March 31, 2009). The Road to Freedom. Unpublished report.

To Be A Woman...

Immigrant women of all ages, backgrounds and family life have one thing in common, knowledge of the challenges of what it is like to be a woman in their new home in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. ‘To Be a Woman’ is a new Host Program initiative designed to explore the interests and concerns of females who have newly arrived in Canada and have little to no extended family support. These monthly sessions are designed to provide information on community services and neighborhood support initiatives. On June 3rd, 2009, SISO’s Host Program held their first session of To Be a Woman. This session was a great success, attracting over 135 participants. Topics and speakers are suggested by the participants themselves. The topic for this first session was “Your Home, Your Paradise” which debated the role of women in the household


Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

and encouraged women to change their conditions and environment by taking a leadership role both inside and outside of the home. The ultimate objective for each speaker is to provide an engaging, comfortable and secure environment for newcomer women to pose questions and begin dialogue on topics of interest and concern. To find out more about this program or to register, please contact our Host Department staff at 905-561-3508 ext 3601.

Niagara Falls? Strawberry Picking? On a Friday July 3, 2009, the Host program at SISO, organized a Newcomer Family Trip to Niagara Falls and Pick Your Own Strawberries Farm. Over ninety individuals attended the trip. They were originally from countries all over the world

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such as China, Iraq, Peru, Libya, Burma, Afghanistan, Somalia, Russia and Canada. Among the many programs and activities SISO’s Host Program organizes, the New-

comer Summer Family trip is one of the most popular! At the Host Program, staff work hard to

Resources to start the coming LINC school year off right

able to LINC eligible youth 18 to 25 years old.

September is just around the corner, which means it’s time to go back to school! Whether you're a beginner or an advanced ESL student, the Hamilton LINC program has a variety of classes to aid you in acquiring English proficiency. There are seven service providers in the city of Hamilton that each offer full or part-time LINC classes. The LINC program is free to all who meet the eligibility criteria. Some programs offer onsite child minding and transportation assistance. Here is a list of the Hamilton service providers to help you make the best of the coming school year.

St. Charles Adult Education Centres

LINC Service Providers College Boreal Offers daytime and evening English language classes in a French environment. Classes are offered from literacy to LINC 7. - Community and Continuing Education Provides LINC classes in four different locations throughout the city. Literacy to LINC 5 classes are offered. Hamilton Public Library A unique program that provides one-to-one tutoring and is great for students that need flexibility in their hours of learning. The program ranges from LINC 3 to LINC 7. LINC Home study Students study in the comfort of their homes opting either for a traditional method (books and CDs) or a computer-assisted online method of study. In either case, every student is entitled to a weekly facilitation session with a teacher who helps the student move through LINC 3 to 7. Mohawk College In addition to regular LINC 3 to 7 classes, Mohawk offers the following specialty classes: • LINC 6 intensive academic preparation course • ELT is a full-time day program designed for Internationally Trained Professionals. • LINC Youth Video Project avail-

Provides language training at six different sites around Hamilton with classes from literacy to LINC 6. In addition St. Charles offers late life learning program for seniors who wish to continue improving their English skills. St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre Provides training from literacy to LINC 7. Some locations offer a ‘women only’ setting. In addition, classes focused on building telephone skills are also offered. Canada is a place that welcomes diversity and encourages freedom of expression. Let’s all get out in the community and practice our communication skills and share the knowledge we all have. The service providers mentioned here provide a variety of learning options through the LINC program that can help you achieve your goals. To start your language training or to get more information on programs available in Hamilton contact us at; Downtown 360 James Street N. Lower Concourse Hamilton, ON L8L 1H5 Tel: (905) 667-7476 (SISO) Free: 1-877-255-8136 Fax: (905) 667-7477 Email:

Saturday, August 15, 2009 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm Gage Park (Gage @ Main St. E.) Hamilton

Mountain 1030 Upper James St.

Food from Around the World Multicultural Music and Dancing Fashion Show Soccer Tournament Fun and Surprises for Children

Hamilton, ON L9C 6X6 Tel: (905) 385-6192 Fax: (905) 385-8085 Stoney Creek 2511 Barton Street East Hamilton, ON L9E 2X1

and Much More...

Tel: (905) 561-2039 Tel: (905) 561-3508 Fax: (905) 561-2195 Or visit our website at

For more information call 905-667-7500 or email

Best wishes for a wonderful coming school year!

engage newcomer families and individuals in social and recreational activities which are facilitated by our valued volunteers. Group activities are particularly valued by newcomers as they often do not have the resources and opportunity to fully participate in the social life, whether it is through employment, education or recreation.

This year’s trip to Niagara Falls provided an excellent opportunity for newcomer families to explore the surrounding landscapes of their new home in Canada. Boarding the big yellow bus, walking along The Falls, having a family picnic at King’s Bridge Park in Niagara and stopping in Binbrook to pick strawberries on the way home to Hamilton, proved to be an excellent adventure for newcomer families. Picking strawberries was especially enjoyed as strawberries are not a common fruit in the countries where many of the newcomer families are from.

their families throughout the trip, what to bring, time of departure and return back to Hamilton and the history of Niagara Falls. SISO’s trusted and dedicated volunteers acted as tour guides for the trip. Without a doubt, this year’s summer trip was a great success! Before the day was over, families were asking SISO staff when and where the next Newcomer Family Trip will be.

smoothly participants were invited to a pre-trip orientation session. Through the help of trained interpreters, the orientation was specially designed to inform families about the responsibilities of safety for themselves and

Each of the Host Program activities depends on volunteer involvement. These volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds; some are students, some are working full time and raising families, and some are retired. Some are newcomers to Canada, and others were born here. But they all share something in common:

To learn more about or to register for Host Program Summer trips and other group activities, please call SISO’s Host Department at 905-667-7476 Ext.3341

How can I help? How can I make a difference? Join SISO’s Volunteer Team! To ensure the trip ran

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a desire to make the settlement process for newcomers to our community a little easier. The Host Program is currently looking for volunteers to: • Assist a newcomer or newcomer family by providing social support for two hours per week. Gain new friends and new cross cultural understanding while helping a newcomer learn about Canadian culture, practice new language skills, explore our community, and build new friendships. • Assist with groups where newcomers come together to make friends and practice their English language conversation skills in a supportive and safe environment. This would particularly interest individuals who enjoy crafts, cooking, or teaching. Being multi-lingual is an asset but is not required. Please contact Susan Cheeseman, 905667-7496 or scheeseman@sisohamilton. org for more information about volunteering with SISO and the Host Program.

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Celebrate Kanata

By Teresa Simms-Obidi When I was a child (almost half a century ago) the process for celebrating Canada took only 24 hours. It was marked on the calendar as Dominion Day, referring to the Dominion of Canada, as it was called when Canada first became a nation in 1867. Now however, it takes ten days to celebrate this vast and diverse nation. What happened to Canada, that the celebration of its people, their stories and their contributions to peace, order and good government has become so complex, and begins with the celebration of National Aboriginal Day (NAD), a day recognizing people whose presence among the first members of the Dominion, was not even recognized let alone affirmed. In recalling Canada Day celebration of the

past, one thing is clear to me. The celebrating was about “them,” the United Empire Loyalists. As I stood on the sidewalk, watching the colorful parade of floats and marching bands, winding through the main street of my small Nova Scotian town (population 1250) there was nothing in the procession to tell this little girl with roots in both the MiqMaq and African N.S communities, that my people had anything to do with the building of Canada even though there was a Miqmaq reserve right outside of the town limits and a number of small African Nova Scotian settlements near the town as well. The parade (like the rest of the Canadian story told to me) was absent of the red men, and women in native dress, riding horse back, and performing traditional dances and rituals, and telling stories that I began to

see so much more often on Canada Day Celebration rituals in later years, and the changes that brought us to a National Aboriginal Day did not come quickly or easily. It was the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) who first called for a National Day of Aboriginal Solidarity to be celebrated on June 21. In 1995 the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made a similar recommendation but without the political context of a Day of Solidarity. Finally in 1996 Canada/Kanata (the village) celebrated its first National Aboriginal Day, a day filled with colorful song, dance, healing, and story telling rituals.



PPC- Parents Providing Care

SISO Downtown Office * Mondays 9:30am -11:30am, 1:00pm-3:00pm


Citizenship Classes

SISO Downtown Office 5:00pm -7:00pm


Pediatric Clinic Call: Penny Drover, 905-6673173

SISO Downtown Office 5:00pm-7:00pm

3rd Fridays

Seniors Workshop

August 4

Internet/Cyber Safety

August 7

Orientations and Information SISO Downtown Office for Newcomers 10:00-12:00pm

August 14

Information about ODSP

Newcomer Family Centre 10:00am-12:00pm

August 17

Wills and Powers of Attorney

Newcomer Family Centre 1:00-3:00pm

August 19

Immigration Session: Refugee Process

Hamilton Central Library 10:00am -12:00pm

August 21

Information about Subsidy Housing

SISO Downtown Office 1:00-3:00pm

August 26

Family Fun Night

SISO Downtown Office 4:00pm-8:00pm

Newcomer Family Centre ** 1:00pm-3:00pm

SISO Downtown Office 1:00-3:00pm

Call: 905-6677476 Ext: 3359

* SISO Downtown Office: ** Newcomer Family Centre: 360 James St. N. 2511 Barton Street East


Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

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To me, a woman who has cultural roots in both aboriginal and immigrant cultures, the inclusion of National Aboriginal Day in


the cannon of celebratory events that we have come to know as Celebrating Canada is a symbolic act of reconciliation, a small step in a series of small though symbolic steps made in recent years toward correcting the injustice of disappearing the aboriginal people from Canada’s story telling landscape. The fact that NAD is not only in the celebratory cannon now, but positioned at the beginning of the celebration is a simple but appropriate acknowledgment of the undeniable fact that to know, and understand Canada, we must make the time to learn about and understand Canada’s first nations people, its history, its culture and its relationship with Canada.

9:00am-5:00pm No-Frills:Mohawk and Magnolia


12:00pm-7:00pm Oriole Crescent


9:00am-5:00pm Grandville and Delawana


9:00am-12:00pm Purnell Drive 12:30pm-3:00pm Mountain Mosque Stone Church or Umar Mosque, Rennie Drive

For more information, please call:

905 667 7476 905 512 7389 905 512 8327

Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 2 • August & September 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

Community Dispatch The time before a child starts kindergarten can create a lot of questions for both the children and their parents. There are many ways to begin preparing for the changes that come for a child starting school. Visiting the School before Your Child Starts Kindergarten: A visit to the school can help your child develop a better understanding of where they will be going and it may also help them start asking questions they may have about school. One way for you to find out more is through the school orientation or open house that you and your child can attend together. You and your child will also have a chance to meet the teacher before the regular kindergarten schedule begins. Routines:

“First-Day Jitters - Getting your child school-ready”

Moving from one task or activity to another can be a challenge for some children so it is a good idea to begin some routines at home and try to stick to them as much as possible. Having set meal times, bed times and opportunities for children to be active and to move from one task to another is great practice for school. Where you can go before kindergarten starts:

“The first and most important way (of getting involved) is through ongoing communication with your child’s teacher. ”

For many children, kindergarten is the first time they are surrounded by many other children which can be a big transition.

By Nancy Harrower, Team Leader, Wesley Urban Ministries Ontario Early Years Centre One way of exposing them to groups of children is visiting the Ontario Early Years Centres in your community. These centres provide free quality learning environments in which families can have fun together. Early Years Facilitators can answer many questions you may have. You can also try going to the Summer Book Club at a local branch of the Hamilton Public Library with your child. Parent and Family Literacy Centres are located in neighbourhood schools and offer many activities that focus on literacy. They are also free and open when schools are open. Getting Involved: Once your child begins school, there are many ways that you can stay involved and take part of your child’s life at school. The first and most important way is

through ongoing communication with your child’s teacher. Teachers want you to be involved and so does your child. Most schools also have volunteer opportunities for those who are interested. Parents, teachers, and the school all need to work together to help make a child’s transition to school as easy as

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possible and it is never too late to start. For more information about school readiness, call the Hamilton Early Years Information line at 905-524-4884.


How can you teach a child about routines before they start school?


How can you get involved when your child starts school?

Discussion: What are your suggestions to get a child ready for school for the first time?

In the News “All-day Kingergarten: good for kids, good for moms” The creation of a full-day of learning for four and five year olds will improve the lives of families with young children in Hamilton according to local experts. A new report recommends a system that lets parents drop off their pre-school aged children at school in the morning before work and lets them leave them there until early evening.

“Given that one in four children in Hamilton live in poverty, some expect that Hamilton will be one of the first cities to begin delivering all-day kindergarten.” Arnav (left) and Zhongai, both 4 years old, “go fishing” at the child-minding centre at the IWC site at 8 The report was written by former depMain Street East. A new report supports a shift to all-day kindergarten for children aged 4 and 5. A full- uty minister of education Charles Pascal. He suggests making schools full-day day of learning for kindergarten-aged children could come to Hamilton as soon as 2010.

Women’s Press asked local experts:

“Is full-day learning good for young children and families?” Marni Flaherty, CEO of Today’s Family, Early Learning and Childcare: “There’s been a lot of research to support that we need quality learning options for children (aged) 0 to 8 and we’re just not investing enough in Ontario. (The) vision of full-day learning is wonderful. We just have to get our heads around how it’s going to be implemented.”

Wanda St. Francois, Executive Director of Affiliated Services for Children:“I think it’s a positive step but it’s a first step. Hopefully we will soon catch up with some other countries like Finland, Sweden and Norway who already have full-day learning funded for children.” Paul Johnson, Chair of Hamilton Best Start Network and Executive Director of Wesley Urban Ministries:

learning “hubs” or centres that combine a full-day of free kindergarten with optional before and after-school daycare at a cost - all under one roof. The report indicates that children who go to school full-time before Grade 1 do better in school and develop good social skills. A full-day of learning is also good for

mothers according to several local supporters of the proposal. Wanda St. Francois, Executive Director of Affiliated Services for Children thinks the new program will help give mothers more options to pursue education and employment . Being able to leave their children in one place for the whole day instead of dropping them off and picking them up at different spots will allow mothers focus on other opportunities, she said. “This way, parents can rest assured their children are receiving quality full day care,” said St. Francois. The plan suggests starting the program in lower-income neighbourhoods first, where children and families generally have fewer opportunities. Given that one in four children in Hamilton live in poverty, some expect that Hamilton will be one of the first cities to begin delivering all-day kindergarten. The Ontario government supports the proposal, but has admitted it may take longer than expected to deliver it to all schools in Ontario given the current economic climate.

The Basics: • Full-day kindergarten will remain optional for four and five year-olds. In Ontario, school is not mandatory until Grade 1. • Parents would pay $27 a day for extended programming outside regular school hours. • Subsidies would be available to families in need. • The new learning “hubs” would be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. • Generally, junior and senior kindergarten only run half-days now.

“This report is great news for families. This report recognizes that families need support in a variety of ways to ensure that they can focus on being the first and most influential teachers in a child’s life. From enhanced and extended parental leave, to new and expanded parenting centres, to stronger investments in child care we have in writing a clear message that healthy brain development involves wrapping supports around families.”

1. Who wrote the report suggesting a full-day of learning for four and five year olds? 2. What are the benefits of a full-day of learning?

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Discussion: Do you think a full-day of learning is good for young children and their parents?

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Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 2 • August & September 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

Building financial independence, one loan at a time: Micro-credit in Hamilton Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? Working from home? Putting your skills and talents to work? A new program being piloted in Hamilton with help from the Immigrant Women’s Centre may soon help you reach your goal. The program is called micro-credit, a system of lending small amounts of money to entrepreneurs, or women with the determination and talent to run a business who simply don’t have the money to get their dreams off the ground.

Improve your reading, writing and English speaking skills: September 16 – Start date for new LINC classes To register at one of our three sites, visit or contact: Downtown: 8 Main Street East, Suite 101 Call Vivyan at 905-529-5209 ext 233 Hamilton North: 182 Rebecca Street Call Wasan at 905-525-9676 Hamilton Mountain: 1119 Fennel Ave. E. #236 Call Abir at 905-387-1100

What is micro-credit? •

Micro-credit is a system that offers people small loans to create or grow their own business.

Micro-credit is directed at people who do not have many assets, steady employment or credit (a history of paying bills and re-paying loans).

Such loans are not charity and are supposed to be paid back with interest.

Micro-lending is based on the belief that low-income people’s desire to better their conditions will make them successful business-people capable of paying back their loans.

Micro-credit is accepted as a means of helping break the cycle of poverty. Micro-credit in Hamilton:

The Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC), with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is researching how to bring micro-credit lending to the city. The findings will support other organizations like Hamilton’s Social Enterprise Network and the Immigrant Women’s Centre in their work on micro-credit. One example of micro-lending is providing support for women who want to start home daycares. This addresses two challenges in Hamilton: the lack of licensed and affordable childcare and the need for more income opportunities for new immigrant women. Many women in Hamilton have already successfully opened up their own home-daycares, thanks to business development support from local organizations such as Today’s Family. A microcredit program will build on that success. Work on micro-lending in Hamilton was given another recent boost through a grant for the SPRC from the Hamilton Community Foundation, an organization that donates money to worthwhile projects in Hamilton. “Micro-credit is one innovative way to break the cycle of poverty and build economic self-reliance for people and their families,” says Sheree Meredith, the Foundation’s Vice-President.

Manage your Money. Control Your Financial Future! September 15 to October 22 - Financial Literacy Workshop

Rolan Samuel displays plants she has grown in her backyard in downtown Hamilton. She was a teacher in India but has had to “get creative” since moving to Hamilton to supplement her family’s income. She would be interested in receiving a micro-credit loan to help grow her business.

LINC Telephone Skills Program


Childminding & bus tickets available

For information or to register, call Vivyan at 905-529-5209 x 233

“There are many reasons why a micro-credit program is important to Hamilton’s economic development”, says Sandy Shaw, Project Director of the Hamilton Social Enterprise Network. “Any successful economic development strategy needs to have a diversified approach. Microlending ensures that small business entrepreneurs, new Canadians and women have the tools they need to contribute to our growing economy”.

1. What are two characteristics of micro-credit? 2. What kind of business have women in Hamilton started with small loans?

Discussion: Have you ever thought about starting your own business? What kind of business would you start if you could get a small loan?

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

Improve your computer skills! Sept. 21 – October 7 - Learn basic computer skills Take a Microsoft Word class. Mondays and Wednesdays. 10 a.m. to noon. Course cost: $25 Location: 182 Rebecca Street. Call Sandra at 905-525-9676 Free child-minding available. September 22 - October 8 – Learn to drive and gain independence Take the in-class G1 driving course. Course cost: $25. Tuesdays and Thursdays. 4 to 6 p.m. Location: 182 Rebecca Street. Call Sandra at 905-525-9676

Information Sessions at IWC

With its high poverty rate and more single-parent families headed by women than any other city in Ontario, Hamilton has a significant need for economic development. With the decline of the manufacturing industry in Hamilton, the city could also benefit from increasing its base of small businesses.


A six-week workshop on managing your money in Canada. Topics covered include banking options, applying for loans and establishing good credit. Guest speakers include financial advisors and mortgage experts. Child-minding available. Location: 182 Rebecca Street. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 3 p.m. Contact Nabila at 905-529-5209 ext. 261.

Get behind the Wheel!

Why does Hamilton need a micro-credit program?

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Time Well Spent:

Join us at the Immigrant Women's Centre!

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Make your home safer! July 29 – Home Safety Presentation Learn strategies to protect your family and belongings inside your home. Information about avoiding accidents, storing food and keeping children safe. Refreshments and free childminding provided. Location: 182 Rebecca Street. Time: 11 a.m. to noon. Contact: Veronica at 905-525-9676

Protect your health! July 31 - Sexual Health Information Join us at one of our downtown sites for an open discussion and presentation about your sexual health. Free resources, refreshments and child-minding provided. Location: 182 Rebecca Street. Time: 10 to 11 a.m. Contact: Veronica at 905-525-9676

Learn about the legal system! Legal Advocate Services Presented by the Women’s Centre of Hamilton Information session about Legal Advocates who assist women interested in leaving an abusive relationship. The service, offered by the Women’s Centre of Hamilton, helps women through the complicated legal system and provides support at every step including police interviews, getting legal aid, finding a lawyer and understanding the law. Two locations: Downtown: 182 Rebecca Street. Wednesday, August 19, 1 to 3 p.m. Mountain: 1119 Fennell Ave. E. #234 Wednesday, August 26, 1 to 3 p.m Contact: Veronica at 905-525-9676

“EveryISSUE month The Voice DiasporapublishES will try to publish articles different faithgroups groups.” Every the Voice inin Diaspora articles fromfrom different faith

Ramadhan And The Sanctification of The Soul changes in our life patterns we still feel animated and full of energy. Our minds often think clearer and our bodies are refreshed. As an ummah (Muslim nation) we through history have attained great successes in this month.

Throughout history humans have revered things. The One and true God, Allah has been worshipped as well as a mixture of the weird and wonderful. Innate in us is a desperate desire to sanctify. This sanctification instinct may seem out of place in the hustle and bustle of modern life. As Muslims, this instinct is a positive energy that we tap into, providing many practical applications. The sanctification of God, Allah, the Almighty.

"Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the Night and the Day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth, (here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise." (Holy Qur’aan Chapter: 2 Verse: 164) Muslims derive inspiration from the wonders of this world. The magnificence of the creation of Allah, The Glorious, derives and pushes us to have a greater fear (love) of the Creator and prompts us to obey Allah’s Law. The more we are aware that Allah, The Exalted, is watching us, the more vigilant we should become of our responsibilities. Sanctification is a central part of our daily lives. As a minimum of five times a day we turn in prayer to Allah The Glorious. An integral part of the Salah (Prayer) is the

sanctification and the begging of our Lord The Almighty for guidance and help. This should inspire us to be mindful of Allah’s Laws in the periods between the Salah. Thus the fruits of the remembering Allah in this world should be born out in our behavior. Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan:

"Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah Knows the (deeds) that you do." (Holy Qur’aan Chapter: 29 Verse: 45) The power that is revealed when sanctifying Allah The Glorious should be harnessed to influence our lives in general. The more aware we are of Allah’s existence the more mindful we should be of the Law. This fear of Allah The Exalted and the submission that follows is what characterizes the Islamic society. The strength that is to be harnessed from worship really comes to the forefront during this blessed month of Ramadhan. This is a month in which we reduce our food, our sleep as we increase our prayers and all other forms of ritual worship. With all these

Ramadhan demonstrates a unique thing within Islam, More importantly this is a month in which Allah The Almighty has given us the opportunity to better ourselves in Taqwa (God-consciousness) and to gain multiple rewards for minimal efforts. Here is Ramadhan about to come. O you who are longing for it… waiting for it, to enjoy its days and nights… Get ready to welcome the month and prepare yourselves to accompany it and live in its shade, benefit of its rewards and blessings. Let us get ready to red ourselves of the sins and the shackles of life that weakened our imaan (faith) and our activities. This month is a chance for the believers to come closer to Allah The Glorious. Ramadhan is a magnificent annual season in which the ummah is united in an atmosphere that brings it back to its soul, to its identity and remind her with the common ties among Muslims; One God, one Faith, one Qur’aan, One Prophet. Allah again says:

"O ye who believe! Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom you shall (all) be gathered." (Holy Qur’aan Chapter: 8 Verse: 24) "Ramadhan is the month in which

sent down the Qur'aan as a guide to mankind, also clear signs for guidance and judgment. So everyone of you who is present (in his/her locality) during this month should fast. But if anyone is ill or on a journey, the prescribed period should be made up by days later. Allah intends every facility for you. Allah does not want to put you in difficulties to complete the fast. And glorify Him in that He Has guided you and perchance you may be grateful." (Holy Qur'aan Chapter: 2, Verse: 185) The Messenger (peace be upon him) cited in many Hadiths (narratives) the advantages of fasting the blessed month of Ramadhan. Al-Bukhari narrated: The Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan cherishing true faith and seeking the reward from Allah, all (his/her) past sins will be forgiven.” He also said: "There is a gate in Paradise called Al-Rayyan, and those who observe the fast will enter through it on the day of resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said: where are those who used to observe fast? They will get up and enter through it. After there entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through that door". Narrated by Al-Bukhari. We beg Allah The Forgiver to able us to fast Ramadhan and accept our fasting. Ramadhan Mubarak to all of you and the whole Muslim Ummah (nation). ■ Dr. Mohamed Khattab

Real Estate Aspects of Starting Up a New Business on behalf of their employees.

Employment Considerations when Starting a Business New businesses often start as one person companies. As the business expands, however, the owner may begin to need assistance in the form of additional employees. Employees are often an important asset of a business, but they can also be among its most substantial liabilities. As a result, it is important that a new employer understand the nature of the liabilities being undertaken as well as the means by which those liabilities may be managed. When an employer hires an employee, the employer will have to abide by employment standards and will have obligations to the employee. The employer will by undertaking a substantial responsibility to make remittances to the government

An employer’s obligations to employees arise through statute, regulation and the law. An employer’s statutory and regulatory obligations to an employee will depend upon whether the employer is federally or provincially regulated. Generally speaking, businesses engaged in banking, broadcasting, aeronautics or inter-provincial transport are federally regulated, while all other businesses are provincially regulated. This article will focus on businesses that are provincially regulated. Some of the provincial legislation that governs business in Ontario includes: the Employment Standards Act, the Labour Relations Act, the Pay Equity Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Employment Standards Act sets minimum protections for employees regarding hours of work and overtime pay, statutory holidays, parental leave and termination pay. These are the minimum protections that employers must provide to employees. Employees cannot contract out of these rights afforded under the Act. The Occupational Health and Safety Act imposes an obligation on employers to ensure that all reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of employees are taken. The regulations

of this Act describe precise requirements to be imposed in the performance of particular job functions. The Ontario Human Rights Code prescribes that every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination. The Act imposes duties on employers to accommodate the personal characteristics of their employees in order to avoid discrimination. An employer should be aware of these standards when hiring employees and may wish to consider instituting a policy of having employees sign an employment contract prior to commencing work. Although employment contracts cannot affect the statutory rights and obligations between employers and employees, they can specify, impose or limit common law rights and duties, such as the notice to be given to employees upon termination and restrictions regarding an ex-employee’s ability to compete with the business. An employer’s responsibilities towards the government are to ensure that certain remittances are made on behalf of employees. An employer must deduct income tax, Canada Pension contributions, and Employment Insurance premiums from the amounts paid to employees. These amounts must be sent in along with w w w.thevoiceindiasp

the employer’s own share of these contributions and premiums that must be paid on behalf of employees. As an employer, one holds the payroll deductions in trust for the Receiver General. The amounts must be kept separate from the operating funds of the business, so that in the case of bankruptcy, these amounts will not form part of the estate. If the employer fails to deduct these amounts, the employer can be liable for the full amount, or may be fined or imprisoned. Employees are often an important asset of a business. With proper attention to labour standards, a well defined employment contract and attention to government requirements, an expanding company can effectively integrate new employees to benefit the business. ■ Hussein Hamdani is a partner at SimpsonWigle Law LLP where he practices in the area of corporate/commercial and real estate law. Kristin Ciupa is a lawyer at SimpsonWigle Law LLP, practicing in the areas of corporate/commercial, real estate and wills and estates.

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Smoking May Speed Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

A Few Extra Pounds Might Bring Extra Years A Few Extra Pounds Might Bring Extra Years Study finds overweight, but not obesity, tied to longer lifespan A new study finds that being overweight -- but not obese -- might help you live longer. In the study of more than 11,000 Canadian adults, overweight people lived longer than normal-weight people, while those who were either extremely obese or underweight died at an earlier age than normal-weight people. The findings do not mean that normalweight people should try to pack on extra pounds, the researchers said.

Patients who smoke appear to progress to severe disease more rapidly, study finds In addition to the well-known hazards of smoking, research now suggests that the dangerous habit causes a more rapid progression of multiple sclerosis. The new findings are from a study that included 1,465 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, average age 42, who had had MS for an average of 9.4 years. There were 257 current smokers, 428 past smokers and 780 participants who had never smoked. At the start of the study, current smokers had significantly more severe disease and were also more likely to have primary progressive MS (a steady decline in health status), rather than relapsing-remitting MS (alternating periods with and without symptoms). The Boston researchers tracked a group of 891 patients for an average of three years to identify how many changed from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS, which is a steady decline that develops after a period of relapsing-remit-

ting MS. During the follow-up, this change was seen in 20 of 154 smokers, 20 of 237 ex-smokers and 32 of 500 never-smokers. "The conversion from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS occurred faster in current smokers compared with never-smokers, but was similar in ex-smokers and never-smokers," according to Brian C. Healy of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues. The study was reported in the July issue of Archives of Neurology. The findings "support the hypothesis that cigarette smoking has an adverse effect on progression of MS as measured by clinical and MRI outcomes," the study authors concluded. "Although causality remains to be proved, these findings suggest that patients with MS who quit smoking may not only reduce their risk of smoking-related diseases but also delay the progression of MS." ■ JAMA/Archives journals, news release, July 13, 2009

"It may be that a few extra pounds actually protect older people as their health declines, but that doesn't mean that people in the normal weight range should try to put on a few pounds," said study co-author Mark Kaplan, a professor of community health at Portland State University. The study followed 11,326 adults in Canada for 12 years. Compared to normal-weight people, those who were underweight were 70 percent more likely to die and those who were extremely obese were 36 percent more likely to die, the researchers found. On the other hand, overweight people were 17 percent less likely to die than those of normal weight. The risk for obese people was the same as for people of normal weight, the study authors noted. Overweight was defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30, and obesity was defined as BMI of 30 and above. BMI is a measurement based on weight and height. For example, a 5-foot 10-inch man weighing 181 pounds has a BMI of 26; a 5-foot 6-inch woman weighing 210 pounds has a BMI of about 34. The study was published online June 18 in the journal Obesity.


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"It's not surprising that extreme underweight and extreme obesity increase the risk of dying, but it is surprising that carrying a little extra weight may give people a longevity advantage," co-author David Feeny, a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., said in a Kaiser news release. But Kaplan noted that there's more to health than just living longer. "Our study only looked at mortality, not at quality of life," he pointed out, "and there are many negative health consequences associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes." Being healthy involves more than body mass index (BMI) or the number on a bathroom scale, said Dr. Keith Bachman, a weight management specialist with Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute. "We know that people who choose a healthy lifestyle enjoy better health: good food choices, being physically active every day, managing stress, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check," Bachman said in the news release. ■ Kaiser Permanente, news release, June 23, 2009

Aboriginal Community Achiever

Joyce Marie (Nee Staats) Kesmarki (RIP) nals to unite and share/debate common interests or dilemmas. It is also a place to obtain current events, news and programs of many sorts from the community. Joyce contribution to HRIC will greatly be missed in her contribution in organizing and cocoordinating the several successful “HRIC Indian Princess” Pageants within Aboriginal community. Through the HRCI Pageant, many young females had been given the chance to present themselves in a possible light. Joyce was responsible for creating confidence, strength and hope in a lot of young Aboriginal women. She will be missed immensely!

In preparation to this year’s National Aboriginal Day held at Gage Park from June 19-21 2009, elder Joyce Marie (Nee Staats) Kesmarki suddenly passed away in her sleep and left behind a lot of sweet memories to those whose lives she had touched. Joyce was not only an elder within the community, but was also a very influential person in the community. She lived a life of sacrifice to help all those around her. Joyce took pride in assisting her community and helped with the development of the National Aboriginal Day Celebration. Through the years, as the National Aboriginal day celebration evolves to what it is today, Joyce was always available to assist in whatever form she is required, most especially, to impact traditional wisdom and knowledge to the next generation. Joyce’s community involvement did not stop at the National Aboriginal Day. She was also a key member of the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre for many years. The

In her later years as an elder, Joyce volunteered her time with the Healthy Aboriginal Men’s Group, where she assisted homeless men transition their lives around into sustainable living conditions.

HRIC acts as a community hub for Aborigi-

enjoyed her interactions with different people from all walks of life. It was second nature for Joyce to lend a helping hand where needed. Unfortunately at the age of 78, Joyce’s time had arrived and without much noticed Joyce passed away mid June of this year. Joyce Marie (Nee Staats) Kesmarki will be remembered by her beloved husband Leslie Kesmarki and her children. Not only will her direct family miss her but the entire Aboriginal community will also miss her presence. Joyce will be remembered for all the hard work, dedication, focus and love she contributed to her community and she will never be forgotten. Rest in perfect peace Joyce! ■ The Voice in Diaspora

Above all, Joyce spent many years as a Registered Nurse working in Hamilton and other hospitals throughout Ontario. Joyce

Bhena Da Mela Ethnic Celebration in Hamilton Mela is a celebration of unity amongst the Sikh, Punjabi women. Bhena Da Mela is a one day celebration. Punjabi women have the opportunity to fully embrace their feminine side with other females. On the day of this celebration, their husbands and sons are left at home to look after the home affairs, while the

Traditionally, Punjabi women seldom have the opportunity to unite under one roof to engage and enjoy extra curricular activities. To bring the women together would require a festival that would en-

able them re-live and showcase their rich cultural heritage within the community where they live. Women being the bedrock of the family are most of the time busy either at home or at work, helping to solidify the foundation of their respective families. This peculiar female roles and responsibilities at the home front leave women less time and opportunity to be socially involved with other females. Thus, the female Punjabi community collectively came up with the idea to make Bhena Da Mela their annual get together celebration. Under the instructions of Jasbir Dosanjh, Bhena Da Mela has become a very important part of the Punjabi Community celebrations. Simply put, Bhena Da

females meet together to savor the taste of social connectedness and escape from everyday domestic realities. The festival is open to women of all ages. It consists of traditional Gldda Punjabi folk dance, drumming, singing, and many more activities. This year’s celebration was held in the luxurious Grand Olympia Hospitality & Convention Centre (old Chandelier Place) located in Stoney Creek. The venue accommodated approximately three hundred plus women. The venue was perfect for the occasion, as it came with a centre stage, and nice comfortable area for numerous business vendors that graced the occasion.

mers. When women were not in their seats observing the entertainment, they were busy walking around visiting all the various business vendors who came prepared with top merchandise like traditional Indian garments, fabrics, and jewelries. The abundance of cultural delicacies at the event truly set the Bhena Da Mela festival on a high pedestal for others to emulate. Truthfully, every one at the event enjoyed themselves and had a good day. What an incredible way to treat the females and truly appreciate all their contributions to the family and society. The Voice would like to thank the organizer Jasbir Dosanjh for the invitation and her hospitality. For more information on Bhena Da Mela 2010 please contact Jasbir Dosanjh at 905-564-1205. ■ The Voice in Diaspora

Amongst the many festivities of Bhena Da Mela, the Miss Punjaban Competition (age 18+) and Miss Teen Punjaban Competition (age 13-18) were the highlights of the day. Many young Punjabi women took part in the competition. Their costumes consisted of the most exquisite traditional wear that came directly from India. Following the competition, live entertainment took centre stage, and was led by a popular female Punjabi singer who was supported by a live band with traditional Dohl drumw w w.thevoiceindiasp

Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Genocide Against Aboriginals Residential School System community are normally the spiritual and conscious people. As Aboriginals, we feel that the general public lacks a true understanding of our culture, traditions and beliefs. And this is all derived from a lack of education and intentional disregard of our history. Our history has been hidden and suppressed for centuries.”

Q: What is the relationship between the Aboriginals on reservations and those residing in the city? Interview with Evan Maracle (B.O.N.D Member) The Voice in Diaspora met and interviewed Evan Maracle of Branch of Native Development (B.O.N.D.), which is the organization responsible for organizing and hosting the annual National Aboriginal Day celebration.

Q: Evan, how do people in Hamilton receive or see the National Aboriginal Day celebration? Do they take part in this festival? A: “The Aboriginal community always seems to be set aside and never really fully embraced. There is not enough participation from the whole Hamilton community and outsiders. The individuals that do support the event outside of the Aboriginal

A: The current division within the Aboriginal communities is a grand issue that needs to be looked into. Natives feel that the general public opinion is that their community has been conquered many years ago and that Natives/Aboriginals should be happy with what they have. Aboriginals do not agree with this opinion and will never agree to oppression of any sort. Since our oppression, Aboriginals have been divided into two sections; reserve Aboriginal and city Aboriginal. Within the Aboriginal communities, city dwellers are considered to be completely detached from their traditional ways of life and beliefs compared to the reservation Aboriginals who still maintain their tradition and beliefs by safeguarding their forefather’s land and territory. Evan went on to explained that the division from reservation and city dwellers is

close to the comparison of the division between Aboriginal children and their parents in early 19th century when the Canadian Government literally took children from Aboriginals homes and forced them to attend Residential Schools and 60 Scope Schools. Resident Schools and 60 Scope schools were responsible for not allowing Aboriginal children to practice their traditional ceremonies. This same system withheld the children from speaking their mother tongues and living their traditional lifestyles. Essentially these schools stole the Aboriginal identity from the youths and disconnected them from their families and community. This is an act of genocide that the Canadian Government committed against the Aboriginal people. Evan went on to elaborate that the other method of genocide experienced by Aboriginals is ‘race- mixing’. “This genocide is predominating amongst Aboriginals that live outside of the reserve” Evan herself was brought up to love and appreciate everyone equally and thus married a European man. Through the years of raising her daughter Evan learned that race mixing is a sacrifice to traditional language, beliefs

and culture. Evan realized that in order to keep Aboriginal tradition alive there must be a common understanding of the importance of union within their own culture. That is for them to marry themselves. “Aboriginals still maintain love and appreciation of all races and cultures but in order to prevent the elimination, abolition and extinction of their people and heritage, we need to stay within our direct community” Evan reasoned. Overall, Evan hopes the Hamilton Community will embrace Aboriginals events and the Aboriginal community as a whole. Evan stated that B.O.N.D. is actively working on eliminating poverty, suicide, school drop-out rates and single parent families within the Aboriginal communities. Evan wishes to see more community support, involvement, and acknowledgement of the Aboriginal culture and events. For more Aboriginal information or more information on B.O.N.D. please call (905) 548-9593 or visit www.hedac-aboriginal. com ■ The Voice in Diaspora

Recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards for Education and Community Service

Photo (left to right) Nancy DiGregorio, Neville Nunes, Domenic Chuck, Gary Warner, Sylvia Kajiura and Amah Harris Presented at the 25th Anniversary Gala of Caribbean Potpourri (Biographies of these six recipients will be published in the next issue of The Voice in Diaspora.)

The Voice In Diaspora Needs You! Are you interested in reaching out to others? Do you have experience organizing or conducting workshops and seminars? Do you have good inter-personal skills? If Yes, Contact us for an enriching opportunity to work with the ethnic/cultural population in Hamilton. Call: 905-521-2875 Email:


Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5

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Senior’s Healthcare, Support Services & Financial Benefits

National Bank Donates to SISO

The Rock Ministry

The Rock Ministry Celebrates The World Youth Day Karen Craig - Program Director & Volunteer Coordinator

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Aug. & Sept. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 5


Paul Andrea Miller Horwath

MPP, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek 289 Queenston Road (905) 545-0114


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U N I T Y I N D I V E R S I T Y International literacy day is cele- brated the world over on Septem- ber 8 In Support of Democracy June 19-2...


U N I T Y I N D I V E R S I T Y International literacy day is cele- brated the world over on Septem- ber 8 In Support of Democracy June 19-2...