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D ecem b e r 0 8 -J a n u a r y 0 9 • Vo l u m e 2 • I s s u e 1 • w w w. t h e vo i • 905.521.2875

H a p py 2 0 0 9 !




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

Fraudsters on Prowl!

Poverty Making Us Sick, Raising Incomes Best Prescription

They are after your Money!

Believe it or not, there are many criminals out there lurking around the corners looking for a slip in your security to pounce and drain all your hard-earned money. Stories abound of innocent people falling victims to ATM money fraudsters. It has never hit home than now. Criminal elements can go to any length to steal from hard working and un-suspecting individuals. They de-

vise many strategies to perfect their crimes and inflict financial mayhem on their victims. This crime is not new, but people do not pay attention until they fall preys to the scheme. Always be on alert when using your bank cards to pay for transactions. These miscreants are watching you like a hawk! ∞ continued on page 5

Contrary to some popular beliefs, poverty is making Canadians sick – not simply lifestyle choices – robbing hundreds of thousands of their health and leading to widespread preventable illness and creating huge costs for the health care system. This is the conclusion of powerful new tipping-point research released today by the Wellesley Institute and the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto. For the first time, the study uses Canadian Community Health Survey and income files to

paint the most comprehensive picture to date of our nation's health. “High income does not guarantee good health, but low income almost inevitably ensures poor health and significant health inequity in Canada,” reports Dr. Ernie Lightman, lead researcher for the new study. Poverty is triggering a devastating health crisis among lower-income people, but the research shows that raising incomes leads to better health. ∞ continued on page 14

SISO's 15th Anniversary It was a night that brought together Hamilton's elites, immigrant youths, friends and well wishers of SISO, as it boldly reached fifteen years of providing impeccable services to thousands of immigrants that settled in our communities. The atmosphere inside the Hamilton Convention Centre was festive as people mingled around cheerfully celebrating the success that SISO has come to represent in immigrant settlement

services. The number of guests expected and the real numbers that showed up to the event were beyond anybody’s imagination. More people bought their tickets at the door and were happy to join the elated crowd to a night of fine dining, and cultural entertainments. The opening ceremony epitomized the very essence of Canadian multiculturalism, the display of more than 200 flags that represented the countries of origins of SISO clients and staff.

The highlight of the night was the cultural dances that got some guests to their feet as they gyrated to the rhythm of the belly-dancers music. People left the event satisfied, and it helped to momentarily eclipse the thoughts of the ubiquitous financial crises and other horrible stories that plague our lives lately. What a great night to honour a deserving organization for a good job well done! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hurray! To SISO. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

Iraqi Women/Daughters' Celebration

Celebrating Diversity at St.Charles ∞ Read on page 4

Eliminating Barriers to a Better Life Anything is possible with Woman Alive! ∞ Read on page 8

Smokers' Homes More Likely to House Hungry Kids

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

∞ Read on page 15

∞ Read on page 6


As the year 2008 draws to an end, it calls for reminiscing of profound memories too intense to ignore. It had been a year of historic occurrences. We witnessed the election of the first ever black President for the most powerful country on earth. We also saw the sky-rocketed energy prices that catapulted prices of commodities to its present height. Also, we have seen and heard of closures and bail-outs of formidable industries; and lately the timely closure of our parliament to prevent political quagmire in a once quiet political quarters in Parliament Hill. What a year! However, down to where it concerns the ordinary Canadians is where our focus is. It had never been easy surviving in a new place, but the new twist in the world’s economies which Canada is a big player, needs more survival tactics than ever made known to people especially, new comers. The quest for survival is on. The dollar is being

stretched beyond its limits. Reputable companies are being forced to close their doors, and the effect trickles down to the masses, the poor masses. It is becoming painstakingly difficult for families to survive this looming economic crisis facing all humans. I could say no body is immune, but I could be wrong. History has shown people profiting more than ever in times of similar economic situations, and this one is no exception. As standard of living gets higher and society and governments grapple with what the best economic bailout for big companies would be, the poor folks mostly visible minorities, women, children and others belonging in this category are left wondering where their own bail-out would emanate from. The grocery carts are not full these days, even when they are, they do not contain nutritious foods that we have been told help to prolong lives. People need to eat, and if junk foods cost less than fruits and veggies, then junk is the way to go. Now than ever, people need government and private sectors economic rescue plans than ever. A lot of people have lost their jobs, retirement savings, investments, homes, cars, hope, and even the will to keep living. However, not all is woe; after all, we are not facing any major environmental disaster that would have compounded what ever economic hardships we are grappling with presently. We still live in the best part of this cosmos, and we have a government that listens to public opinion at least. However, much need to be done, and quickly to restore hope, dignity and pride of the communities. Hamilton and Hamiltonians need sound economic strategy to stimulate the local economic, especially, to attract and retain investors. It is pitiable losing count of how many businesses are closing, and how many locals are left without means of livelihood. The fear and reality of our present crisis is increase in crime rates and other societal ills. More so, low socio-economic situation breeds poor health which in turn impact negatively on the health care system. It is a no- win situation for every one. As we enter the New Year, the Voice in Diaspora hopes for a more robust global economy. Wishing every one a joyous celebration! Thanks Veronica Chris-Ike Publisher/Editor

Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Hamilton City Council wish you

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

During this time of celebration, let us all remember to give to our local food banks through Hamilton Food Share.


Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1

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Canadian Immigration Minister Kenney Issues New Instructions for Federal Skilled Worker applications Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada (CIMC) Minister Jason Kenney has announced the Canadian Government’s plan for immigration in 2009. He stated that between 240,000 and 265,000 new Permanent Residents will be welcomed to Canada in 2009; up to 156,000 of them in the economic category.

• 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians • 3141 Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists • 3143 Occupational Therapists • 3142 Physiotherapists • 3151 Head Nurses and Supervisors

Minister Kenney also issued new instructions for how Canadian immigration visa officers will treat Federal Skilled Worker applications, including all those that have been submitted since February 27, 2008. The Action Plan for Faster Immigration calls for visa officers to process the Federal Skilled Worker applications of candidates who have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the last 10 years in one of 38 qualifying occupations that are in high demand in Canada (see below for the list); or who have an offer of Arranged Employment in Canada or who have been legally living in Canada for at least one year as a temporary foreign worker or international student. Federal Skilled Worker applicants who do not meet these requirements will not be processed at this time, and will have their applications returned with a full refund of government processing fees. It is important to note that an application, which is returned is not considered to be refused or rejected and presumably can be resub-

The Voice in Diaspora

• 3152 Registered Nurses • 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists • 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses • 4121 University Professors • 4131 College and Other Vocational Instructors mitted at a later date, when the processing queues become shorter.

Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing 905.521.2875

Contributors Nica Brown, Blessing Tokis Veronica Chris-Ike, Hussein Hamdani SISO (Settlement And Integration Services Organization)

The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is free of charge. Publication will be done Bi-monthly till March 2009. 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.

• 0111 Financial Managers • 0213 Computer and Information Systems Managers • 0311 Managers in Health Care • 0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers

For those whose applications are returned, there are other options for Canadian immigration, such as the Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP), through which applications receive priority processing.

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

Art & Creative Design

List of Qualifying Occupations

"We expect new federal skilled worker applicants, including those with arranged employment, to receive a decision within six to 12 months compared with up to six years under the old system," said Minister Kenney.

Our Mission

Veronica Chris-Ike

He assured that, "The eligibility criteria apply only to new federal skilled worker applicants and will not affect Canada's family reunification or refugee protection goals."

These measures were put in place to reduce the backlog of applications in the system and to speed up the processing times of immigration applications.

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


Canada," stated Minister Kenney.

• 0632 Accommodation Service Managers • 0711 Construction Managers • 1111 Financial Auditors and Accountants

"Applicants who aren’t eligible for the federal skilled worker category may qualify under another category, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, or as temporary foreign workers, which could then put them on a path to permanent residency through the new Canadian Experience Class. There are many ways to immigrate to

• 2113 Geologists, Geochemists and Geophysicists • 2143 Mining Engineers • 2144 Geological Engineers • 2145 Petroleum Engineers • 3111 Specialist Physicians

• 6241 Chefs • 6242 Cooks • 7213 Contractors and Supervisors, Pipefitting Trades • 7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades • 7217 Contractors and Supervisors, Heavy Construction Equipment Crews • 7241 Electricians (Except Industrial and Power System) • 7242 Industrial Electricians • 7251 Plumbers •7252 Steamfitters, Pipefitters and Sprinkler System Installers • 7265 Welders and Related Machine Operators • 7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics • 7371 Crane Operators • 7372 Drillers and Blasters – Surface Mining, Quarrying and Construction • 8221 Supervisors, Mining and Quarrying • 8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service ■

Ontario Supports Registered Disability Savings Plans McGuinty Government Helps Families Save For Children With Disabilities Ontario is making it possible for social assistance recipients to take advantage of Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs). Like the Registered Education Savings Plan, RDSPs allow family members and loved ones to save money tax free until withdrawal. The program helps people plan for the future needs of children and adults with disabilities. Changes to Ontario’s social assistance rules will make sure that both RDSP assets and withdrawals are fully exempt. This means: • RDSP contributions do not impact eligibility for social assistance • People on social assistance can take money out of an RDSP without affecting their social assistance payments. To further help social assistance recipients with disabilities save for their future, Ontario is also increasing the amount they can receive as a gift or payment from a trust from $5,000 to $6,000 a year. QUOTES “This is about making it easier for families to save for their children with disabilities,” said Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur. “We

are making sure that people can put money in an RDSP without it affecting their eligibility for disability support.” "The message from the Ontario government is clear. It trusts families to help their relative with a disability and has opened the door for them to secure the future for their loved one. In twenty years, we’ll look back on this as a watershed moment for people with disabilities." said President and Co-Founder of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network Al Etmanski. "What will happen when I'm no longer here is a sentiment shared by many families caring for a relative with a disability. The future for their loved ones was almost certain poverty. But with today's welcomed announcement, the Ontario government has cleared the way for families and communities to invest

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in a new vision for Ontario citizens with disabilities,” said Ontario RDSP Working Group Chair Jeff Dobbin. QUICK FACTS • Any individual that is eligible for the Disability Tax Creditmay establish an RDSP • British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland have also announced that they will fully exempt both RDSP assets and withdrawals. ■

Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1


Celebrating Diversity at St. Charles The energy level was high as students, parents, staff and media filled the gymnasium of St. Charles Adult Education Centre for the 3rd annual ESL Extravaganza. The event took place at 150 East 5th Street, one of the five St Charles centers throughout the city. St Charles proudly proclaims itself to be the leading provider of ESL and LINC programs in the city. Judging by the large numbers in attendance and the enthusiasm and excitement at the ESL Extravaganza, it’s easy to see why this is true. A large colorful banner hung on the wall at the front of the stage reading, “Reaching Beyond our Differences.” This motto was

demonstrated throughout the gym where colourful cutout handprints of each and every student lined the walls, intertwined with the names of countries represented by the students at the school. Guests cheered, danced and sang throughout the entire ceremony as students showcased their talents from various cultures. Before attending the event on November 19th, 2008, The Voice in Diaspora had

the opportunity to sit down with Bob Goodwin, Principal of St. Charles, to take a more in-depth look at what the centre has to offer immigrants and newcomers to Canada. Aside from ESL and LINC programs ranging from pre-benchmark to level 6 English, the school also provides TOEFL class-

es for high level English students. In addition, internationally trained professionals can take part in an ESL co-op in which 2 months is devoted to language training followed by 3 months in the workplace to gain firsthand experience in their skilled field. CELBAN testing is also available for internationally trained nurses who want to carry their skills and training into the Canadian workforce. Lastly, when attend-

ing St. Charles, students have the ability to also learn about their new environment through the teachings of Canadian history and the three levels of government. Every step is made possible to ensure the wellbeing of every student attending. Due to the overwhelming success of all five centres and the demand for language training, St. Charles’ major challenge is seeking the necessary funds within both the provincial and federal governments to expand the programs. There is also a need for more space in the school to continue to accommodate all immigrants in the area. Bob Goodwin spoke highly about the great support from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and the strong partnership with SISO. Public Health is also involved by coming to the centres to inform students about current issues within the community. Always looking to grow, a few staff members from St. Charles sit on CESBA, the Continuing Education School Board Administrators of Ontario. This organization promotes and


Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1

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encourages the progress of adult and continuing education by lobbying the provincial and federal governments on the growing needs of these schools in the province. As part of giving back to the community, students participate in charities and local food banks. Contests are also run during holidays where prizes are awarded and students have donated back to United Way after realizing there is a huge need within the city. The average time it takes new immigrants to speak English fluently depends on their beginning level of the language when entering a program. However, every graduate from St. Charles Adult Education Centre has reached their goal in becoming competent enough to leave St. Charles and further their education in college or the workplace. St Charles is truly the adult way to learn! ■ The Voice In Diaspora

National Day of Remembrance And Action on Violence Against Women

women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of genderbased violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete

...Continued from page 1

Fraudsters on Prowl! One wonders who these master-minds are that steal innocent people’s money from their bank accounts. A recent article from New York implicated two Brooklyn men. They intercepted Citibank server that processes ATM withdrawals and made hundreds of fraudulent withdrawals from New York City cash machines in February, pocketing at least $750,000 in cash, according to federal prosecutors (Kevin Poulsen, http://blog.wired .com). These men are scumbags, greedy, and a disgrace to humanity. The same article went on to quote an expert as saying that “The ATM crime spree is apparently the first to be publicly linked to the breach of a major U.S. bank's systems. Dan Clements, CEO of the fraud watchdog company CardCops, who monitors crime forums for stolen information stated that “"We've never heard of PINs coming out of the bank environment”

Did you know that December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada? Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women. As well as commemorating the 14 young

actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. ■ index_e.html#news

Credit card and ATM PIN numbers show up often enough in underground trading, but they're invariably linked to social engineering tricks like phishing attacks, "shoulder surfing" and fake PIN pads affixed to gas station pay-at-the-pump terminals, experts stated. But if federal prosecutors are correct, the Citibank intrusion is an indication that even savvy consumers who guard their ATM cards and PIN codes can fall prey to the growing global cyber-crime trade. High tech w w w.thevoiceindiasp

fraud involving Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) is on the rise. ATM fraud of this nature is known as "skimming". Typically, criminals use a hidden card reading device and a camera to steal customer's card information and pin number. They then have enough data to create counterfeit ATM cards ( A new report Dec. 8, 2008 indicated that A 28-year-old man caught in the act of using hacked ATM codes to loot Citibank accounts last May pleaded guilty this week to a single count of access device fraud, bringing to five the number of defendants who've entered guilty pleas in connection with an intrusion into an ATM processing server that led to at least $2 million in fraudulent withdrawals this year ( Aleksandar Aleksiev pleaded guilty to a single count of access device fraud in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday Dec.8. Aleksiev was arrested the evening of May 8, after Citibank officials monitoring their network noticed suspicious ATM transactions coming through the five cash machines in the vestibule of a Citibank's 65th Street Branch in New York's Upper East Side. Security experts say if you need to use an A-T-M machine, it's best to use one that's inside a bank's lobby where it may be in site of extra security cameras. Also, keep close tabs on your accounts and review all of your bank statements. And it is better to make withdrawals from your local bank cashier and pay most of your transactions in cash instead of using your ATM or credit cards. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1


Chouki, Man of Incredible Talent!

...Continued from page 1

International Day of Persons With Disabilities 2008 Theme: "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and justice for all of us". Dignity and justice for all of us is the theme of this year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities, as well as for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dignity and justice for all persons are established universal principles.  Since its inception, the United Nations has recognized that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.  These principles, along with equality and non-discrimination, have guided the work of the United Nations for the past 60 years and are enshrined in various instruments such as the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in treaties such as the International Covenants on Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  These instruments are among those which  make up the international human rights framework, are complementary and reaffirm that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.  2008 is a significant year in the international human rights movement given the entry into force on 3 May of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, legally


Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1

binding instruments which set out the legal obligations of States to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 25 of the UDHR provides that each person has “the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control". Several articles in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities expound on this right to security, including article 10 on right to life and article 14 on liberty and security of person.  Article 28 is more specific in that it asks that States Parties take steps to safeguard and promote that realization of the right to an adequate standard of living and social protection, including ensuring “access by persons with disabilities and their families living in situations of poverty to assistance from the State with disability-related expenses, including adequate training, counseling, financial assistance and respite care”.  These instruments mark a clear reaffirmation that persons with disabilities have the right to full and equal enjoyment of their human rights.  They also mark a clear reaffirmation of the principles of ‘dignity and justice for all of us’. Around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with disabilities. The Convention promotes and protects the human rights of persons with disabilities in civil, cultural, economic, political, and social life. However, all over the world, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to their participation in society and are often forced to live on the margins of society.  They are routinely denied basic rights such as to equal recognition before the law and legal capacity, freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to participate in political and w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Mr. Chouki Ouhib graduated from the University of Algeria in 1990 with a Bachelor of Laws, & Administration Management Degree, a Diploma of International Trade from FITT. Later he obtained a post-graduate diploma in International Business Management from Mohawk College, faculty of Business. Fluent in English, French, and Arabic, with over 13 years in the management and trading industries, he has extensive experience with international and domestic trade in Algeria & Qatar. He occupied senior positions as Vice Director HR, Overseas Training, and Internal Auditor in Algeria and Director Public Relations, Customs Specialist and Trade Operations Coordinator in Qatar. He completed the customs skills as a certified customs specialist in 2001 and received the Certificate of Achievement for the Occupational Health & Safety Management, and Internal Auditor Training Course, as well as ISO 14001 Environmental Internal Auditor Course in 2002. A CITP designation in 2007 has added a great value to his professional career in Canada. In April 2008 Chouki Ouhib was appointed as Business Development Advisor with Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO), to work with its Global Business Innovation Centre funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada. This centre assists in the start-up of new and emerging businesses by immigrants in the Hamilton area

and connects local companies with markets overseas.

public life, such as voting. Many persons with disabilities are forced into institutions, a direct breach of the rights to freedom of movement and to live in the community.

the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a time to make a renewed commitment to the ratification and full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.  

Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities – more than 400 million people – live in poor countries and there is a strong link between disability and poverty. For example, the statistics on employment for persons with disabilities are staggering. In developing countries, 80 per cent to 90 per cent of persons with disabilities of working age unemployed and in industrialized countries it is estimated to be between 50 per cent and 70 per cent.  The rights to education and health are also routinely denied.   Ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, says UNESCO.  Approximately 20 million women acquire disabilities as a result of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. This continued marginalization against persons with disabilities highlights the need for all States to sign, ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.  The United Nations and the global community must ensure that all its work is inclusive of persons with disabilities.  The Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved if persons with disabilities are not included.  Efforts to achieve the MDGs and implement the Convention are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.  On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, as well during the year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us use “dignity and justice for all of us” as a rallying call, as these principles are far from being realized for everyone.  Dignity and justice are embodied in the civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights promoted by the Convention. Therefore,

Mr. Chouki & His Family

Mr. Chouki's Wife & Children

One of the fundamental obligations contained in the Convention is that national law should guarantee the enjoyment of the rights enumerated in the Convention. States Parties should thus consider the best ways of giving effect to the rights guaranteed by the Convention in domestic law.  Implementing legislation should include the terms of the Convention or a specific reference to them, in order to indicate clearly that the laws should be interpreted in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Convention.  Legislation alone will not ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy their human rights. States will need to formulate effective policies and programmes that will transform the provisions of the Convention into practices that will have a real impact on the lives of persons with disabilities.  For persons with disabilities, as for all persons, the denial of one right can lead to the denial of other rights and opportunities throughout their lives. Article 33 explains that States must set up national focal points governments in order to monitor implementation of the Convention's precepts. States must also set up independent monitoring mechanisms, which usually take the form of an independent national human rights institution. The full participation of civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, is essential in the national monitoring and implementation process. International monitoring is achieved via the Committee ∞ continued on page 7

Christmas Celebrations Worth Remembering Amongst The Diaspora Christmas, also referred to as Christmas Day or Christmastide, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. His birth, which is the basis for the Anno Domini system of dating, has been determined by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC. The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth, and may have been chosen to coincide with ancient Roman solar festivals that were held on December 25. Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus, also referred to as Father Christmas, is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media. Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States where it is celebrated by 96% of the population. ■ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

in her part of the world. She feels homesick during this festive period, as many

a teenager in the early 90’s. She is now married with two children, and remembers Christmas celebrations as a young kid growing up in an elite suburb where her diplomat parents lived among the expatriates. She describes the excitement, gifts, outings and dancing that fills the days leading up to the 25th of December. She remembers attending numerous Christ-

ments that life has changed drastically for her, and she yearns for her childhood days again, which were peaceful, graceful, and with much material abundance. Her worry this Christmas is how to get her children Christmas gifts without breaking her bank. She plans to work on Christmas day for a time and a half holiday pay in order to get extra money for other necessities. Though she likes Christmas in Canada, her family situation and the economic hardship that stare her in the face have dulled any good memory she holds of Christmas. But she is hopeful that things might change for the better one day. ■ Blessing Tokis

Hilda from Colombia

family members, friends and a whole lot of others she grew up with are not in Canada to celebrate Christmas with her. However, she remains grateful for being in Canada, and plans to gather with friends from Colombia to celebrate Christmas in Hamilton. The pomp and pageantry that accompany Christmas, especially cultural dancing, and the lighting of candles outside the houses in her town, are missing in Canadian Christmas celebrations. Come December 24th Hilda plans to start her celebration by preparing mouth-watering dishes, and participating in whatever activities people from Colombia are engaged in. Seakor came to Canada from Liberia 3 years ago. His memory of Christmas cel-

What some immigrants from our diverse communities shared about their memorable Christmas. Read on: Hilda originally from Colombia has been in Canada for 4 years now, and remembers how enjoyable and fun Christmas celebrations were back in her days in Colombia. She narrated that Christmas celebration starts around December 8th in celebration of the feast of Novena, which is devoted to the memory of the Vir...Continued from page 6 gin Mary, who was the mother on the Rights of Persons of Jesus with Disabilities and the Christ. HilConference of States Parda could ties. The first meeting of not conthe Conference of States tain her Parties will be convened excitement by the Secretary-General as she narno later than six months rated and after the entry into force described on 3 May 2008 of the the feastConvention. ing, dancThis International Day ing and gift for Persons with Disabili- showering ties is a time to make a that acrenewed commitment to c o m p a n y these principles of dig- Christmas nity and justice and to celebration ensure implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Seakor from Liberia

ebration in his native Liberia was that of merriment, surplus food, traditional dancing, and gift sharing. He misses his hometown very much, especially during festive holidays like Christmas. This is due in part to the cultural and weather differences between his native country and Canada. Seakor misses the opportunity to visit his friends and relatives, which he usually does back home during Christmas. He believes that the surplus of material wealth and other niceties abundant in Canada does not make his Christmas celebration here any more enjoyable than what he was used to back in Liberia. He is nevertheless grateful to be here celebrating with friends and relatives. Tatu is from Cameroon, but was born and raised in Senegal. She came to Canada as

mas parties, functions with her parents, and visiting friends and relatives. Her Christmas was happier in the days gone by than presently. Now, she is burdened with raising her children with little or no assistance from her husband who never stops going from one university to another raking in education debts. She la-

All human beings are not only entitled to rights, but also have the responsibility of making universal human rights a reality for all of us.   ■

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Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1


Eliminating Barriers to a Better Life Anything is possible with Woman Alive! Thirty women from the Chinese community quickly gathered into the gymnasium of the Hamilton YWCA to begin their weekly Tuesday afternoon aerobics class through the Woman Alive! program. They took their spots as Lisa Wang, Women’s Health Educator, began instructing her first hour long class. Lisa is from the City of Hamilton Public Health Services department who works to promote healthy lifestyles in the community. She along with three other women’s health educators, began recruiting women for the Woman Alive! program after realizing there was a huge demand for physical activity within the ethnic community. Chinese women become accustomed to an active lifestyle back in their home country, but when migrating to Canada, they are not only unable to afford, but unable to access the resources needed to stay active and thus, resort to devoting their entire day to the care of their children and grandchildren. When asked about how they felt, one participant said that she was intimidated by large exercise classes and gyms within


Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1

the community and Woman Alive! solved all her problems. Lisa Wang explained this further by saying, “this program provides an environment where these women are allowed to be themselves; they can interact and socialize with other Chinese women and exercise to music from their culture for no cost at all.” The classes originally began with mixed races, but when it was determined that many of these women were of Chinese decent, a separate class was created to accommodate them. The Communities in Action Fund, along with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton, Healthy Living Hamilton, Zonta Club of Hamilton, and other funders, enabled the program to provide extra language support. Incorporated within the program, through Ontario Trillium Foundation support, is a free fitness leadership component in which a limited number of participants were given the opportunity to learn to become instructors themselves. Lisa Wang explained that when beginning this program, she felt very nervous and unsure about ever being able to instruct her very own class. Combined with perseverance and the help of an excellent trainer, Lisa was inspired and not only inherited the necessary skills, but boosted her energy level and gained a great deal of confidence. When asked what message she would like to give to women about the Woman Alive! program who

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may lack self-esteem, preventing them from joining, Lisa said with a smile, “look at me, I began as a recruiter for the program, afraid to become an instructor and here I am, teaching an entire class by myself and I feel good!” Woman Alive! which includes both an aerobic and aqua-fit class, allows members to work at their own pace in a relaxed, no pressure environment. The Voice in Diaspora asked a group of participants how the program has impacted their lives and overall well-being and the response was unanimous--increased energy and confidence. They explained they not only felt younger physically but emotionally as well. One woman even yelled happily, “I’ve already lost five pounds!” The Woman Alive! program enables women to learn while exercising, “I used to exercise without knowing the importance and purpose of everything I was doing” said a

member, which was also helped by having an interpreter on hand. They agreed they would love to see the program continue on for years and could not praise enough about the support from the staff, “they have been excellent and have provided us with everything we need.” The class dismissed with the participants each receiving bus tickets—just another added bonus of joining the program. For more information about Woman Alive!, additional locations, or to register, please visit, or call 905 546 3540, and ask for the Woman Alive! program. ■ The Voice In Diaspora

Settlement Services Coming of Age: SISO, too, Moving Forward

The most intensive people resettlement period in Canada is following the Second War. Displaced persons were brought to Canada as part of an international agreement forged by some nations to resettle those displaced by the ravages of war. Poland, Holland, Germany, France and England exported so many persons to Canada and the United States in order to give them a quicker restart in life and also to permit the rebuilding of those war-torn economies room to re-grow through a focus on more urgent infrastructure. Few would have thought that in 2008 we would still be seeing massive resettlement schemes occasioned by continuing wars, invasions and internal disputes so severe the human toll would be mind-boggling. Today, UNHCR estimates that more than 19 million people live in refugee camps. More than 19 million are unaccounted for and these lost persons are referred to persons of concern. War continues and the resettlement of people displaced during the chaos is now a routine agenda for most western nations. In the pre-Second World War period the initial settlement work was traditionally done by religious groups, Women’s Charitable Organizations the YWCA and the YMCA. Reception and resettlement began in a context of morally suitability. Arrivals had to be of good standing, obey rules established for them and commit to stability in some pre-determined occupation. The good news then was immediate entrance into paid work however, undesirable and unsuited to their skills. Two categories of refuge seekers arrive on Canadian shores: those who make their way here by enterprising means and ask for asylum. The other group are those who are hand picked from refugee camps by the UNHCR and sent to identified nations by prior agreement. The lat-

laborator. Our plan includes bringing the newcomer and host communities together in structured programs which ease transition anxieties for both host and newcomer groups. The goal here will be to strive to inspire confidence in those citizens who have apprehensions about more ‘strangers in our midst’ whom they fear are without good readiness to mingle amongst our lives. The reduction of stresses and suspicions of both refugees and residents of Hamilton will decrease social resistance by both groups. Our refugee reception centre will ultimately decrease the social and human costs associated with nation building among diverse groups.

ter group are known as Government Assisted Refugees. Settlement and Integration Services Organization’s (SISO) new venture will change the way refugees are welcomed. No longer tenday stints in sub-standard hotel rooms. SISO’s ‘New Dawn’ refugee reception centre will offer temporary accommodation which matches the newcomers’ needs for a range of services at the same site. We plan to replace the current public hotel accommodation system so unsuitable for persons suffering from trauma and for children. New Dawn will be a home offering essential services for those newly arrived until they are ready to seek independent housing. Funds raised will pay for renovations with occupancy possible in 2009. We believe that a plan of programmed residence in our ‘New Dawn’ will provide refugees with comprehensive health consultations and assessments, on-site health care where neces-

sary, time for emotional healing, time to reflect on their journey ahead, and time to explore the labour environment and prepare for its requirements. Children will be provided with a period of stable and appropriate adjustment under supervision and expert care. In addition, the New Dawn experience will include space for the more important issues such as understanding the responsibilities of citizenship and the need to learn about and embrace a new social and political environment. Not all the adjustment work must be done with only newcomers. It is understandable that some citizens of Hamilton are not prepared for receiving new neighbours who are newcomers to our nation, nor are they made ready to showcase the best of our culture of welcome. Therefore, the period of programmed residence will include interface with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion in which SISO is a significant col-

Our New Dawn will be a place of respect for faith groups, will include a program of civic education for both refugees and Hamiltonians and we will include advocacy as a feature for changing the environment of our city to structurally include newcomers as citizens with rights but with challenges. An important goal of New Dawn is change. We must change and begin to learn ways of moving forward together as a strong city driven by the principle of the right to be socially included. SISO’s plan of using the site of programmed residence as a place of mediation and public education means that very early in the post arrival period refugees will be able to share in these deliberations, learn about our social system of rights and fully understand their new entitlements of citizenship. A Refugee Reception Centre with the aim of social inclusion will better prepare residents for a life of informed civic engagement with voice. We need your support in dollars to make this a reality. ■ By Patricia Daenzer

Services for Newcomers January 2009

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Successes and Challenges at The Globe As the third month of The Globe’s operation comes to a close staff cannot help but revel in the success of our youth. The small successes are what fill the staff with joy and continued energy. Philip Kedini is one such success story. Philip is the son of immigrant parents from Sudan and is in fact himself a newcomer. They first settled in Toronto and then they moved to Hamilton for greener pastures. You will find Philip attending Empower Hour, bowling in the Magic Room, or sharing ideas with other youth in the lounge. Recently Phillip made a smart choice and visited the Resource Centre. The Resource Centre is a great location to begin mapping out a path for your educational and or career endeavors. Like other young men Philip is concerned about making sure his threads are tight and his wrist is blinging. Being the selfdirected young man that he is, he made the fist step to improving his swagger. He made an appointment with Maryam Jalilpour to receive career counseling. After a fruitful session he was ready to prepare his resume and become gainfully employed. Maryam shared with him information about an upcoming employment fair. Along with his peers Philip shed his urban wear and sported a shirt, tie and slacks. He was not going to spare any effort in ensuring that he impressed his future employers. The fair was a great success and Philip landed a job. He referred some of his friends and they too become gainfully employed. With his confidence in the sky Philip decided that he needed to spread

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that “I am happy that the youth are taking ownership for their future”. She has spent the last couple of months whittling away at strategies to make our youth know how to market themselves effectively. Whether she is having impromptu meetings in the hallways on her way to lunch or preparing for a Job Search Workshop, Maryam has been one of the pillars of the Resource Centre.

his wings and find a better job. Excitedly he told me that he had been invited to interview for a retail position. Once again he visited Maryam and received priceless strategic skills that he could implement during his interview. The interview would be a huge surprise. Philip had his first experience in a group interview situation. He mustered his strength, gathered his thoughts and made sure that he answered questions thoughtfully. Philip said that “every time I talked I made sure that I got

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all my idea out and made sure I only spoke when I had something important to say”. Although he felt that he answered well, he was not confident that he would receive the position as he felt that others were more articulate than him. Two days after the interview Philip was bursting with excitement and told us that he had been hired. He had his first shift a week later and the job is going well. Philip continues to access services and learn as much as he can from staff and other youth. Maryam says

This said there are challenges and the staff has been creative in how they support the youth. Catherine expressed that our clients often have to balance their career goals with cultural and familial expectations. She explains that she has “one client who wanted to become a doctor, and she received conflicting messages from her parents. One supports further education and the other wants a more traditional role for his daughter as wife and mother. In this type of situation, I try to help the client find a way to compromise while continuing on with their studies. For this client, that means examining other academic programs in the health sector like nursing, physician’s assistant, midwifery or nurse practitioner. Sometimes you need to be creative, but there is always a way forward for those who are willing to look for it. Both Maryam and Catherine are waiting for youth and their parents to come and pick their brain. In the mean time they continue to research, plan and celebrate youth like Phillip.

Global Talent Counts!

The 7th Annual Employer Recognition Luncheon organized by SISO on November 25th, 2008 attracted over 100 participants. The annual event brings together local businesses to recognize and celebrate best practices and achievements related to meaningful integration of diversity in our workplaces.

vival of many companies.

This year, SISO recognized 19 local companies and presented the Special Recognition Award to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and its CEO, John Dolbec. Over the last couple of years, our Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront of a number of initiatives related to greater, better and more efficient use of global skills and talent brought by newcomers to Canada.

Morteza Jafarpour, Executive Director of SISO is convinced that: “There are all kinds of reasons for small and medium sized businesses, as well as large corporations

These continue to be compelling reasons for many community and business leaders to join in the effort of creating better conditions to attract and retain diverse, global skills, talent and experience; and to reach-out to the world through our existing diversity ambassadors.

A study by the Conference Board of Canada indicates that as the Canadian workforce continues to age, Canadian companies will increasingly need to access alternate or non-traditional sources of talent in order to replace retiring workers. Additionally, a national report states that in 2001 recent immigrants to Canada represented almost 70% of the labour force growth and, if current trends continue, could account for all future labour growth by 2011.

We immigrants are so confused the first few months after our arrival. It takes us a while to settle down and integrate, but there are ways that can help this transi-

1.Canada Revenue Agency 2.TD Canada Trust 3.Scotiabank 4.Bank of Montreal 5.The Society of Management Accountants of Ontario

7.Robertson Building Systems, RCC Service Centre 8.Water Distribution & Wastewater Collection, Public Works , City of Hamilton 9.Deb Worldwide Healthcare Inc. 10.Morriston Park Nursing and Retirement Home 11.Allegro Residences 12.Wesley Urban Ministries 13.Mundi Holdings Ltd. 14.The Maids Home Services to hire internationally-trained professionals and tradespeople. The benefits of hiring newcomers and promoting workplace diversity as a competitive advantage are becoming increasingly important for the well-being of businesses and communities”.

Paths to Integration Five years ago, when I had just immigrated to Canada, I witnessed a funny incident on a bus. A man got onto the bus, looked the bus driver in the eye and uttered the only English-sounding word he knew, “Finch”. The bus driver, quite accustomed to dealing with newcomers with limited English, realized that the man needed to get off at Finch station and replied, “OK, now drop your ticket into this box” pointing to the ticket box next to him. The man, looking puzzled and confused, repeated, “Finch, Finch”. The bus driver calmly replied in simple clear English, “OK, Now Ticket Here” and pointed to the box again. The man, looking back and forth from the bus driver to the ticket box, bent down over the ticket box and shouted into it, “Finch!”

Companies Recognized this Year:

6.Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology

While internationally-trained individuals are not the only solution to the issue of skill shortage, they play the most prominent role, as 100% of all labour force growth within the next couple of years will come from this group. Talking about the importance of actively recruiting, hiring and integrating global talent in this time of economic uncertainty, may seem a bit strange to some; the reality remains however, that economic downturns come and go: hopefully, they’re not here to stay for too long! And in the wake of transitioning to a knowledge-based economy and trade diversification, the attraction and retention of best suited skills and talent will ensure both survival and re-

together and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our local businesses and leaders” says Jafarpour.

tion process to be faster and smoother. The first and most important step to integration is improving one’s English proficiency. Most of us know enough English to get a doctor’s appointment or write a Christmas greeting to a friend, but we might not be confident enough to start a small conversation with a colleague by the water cooler or write a report on the company’s new product. Taking ESL classes can be the answer to this problem. Tina, a student of mine in a Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) class, wrote in her course evaluation form that in her class, she learned to communicate more effectively, clearly, and politely. Ali, another ESL student of mine, learned to write business letters and memos in his class. In addition to ESL classes, there are a variety of techniques to improve one’s English. Reading short stories, for example, is an invaluable way for learning new vocabulary and well-formed struc-

SISO values its partnership with the business community in assisting the joint effort to build a strong and inclusive Hamilton. “We are happy to showcase the employers who have supported SISO and our economic development initiatives for many years. The Employer Recognition Luncheon is an opportunity to come tures. Furthermore, there are numerous websites on listening, reading, grammar, and vocabulary where learners can study the subjects of their choice at their own pace. Watching TV is another helpful way of learning common idioms, slang, and vocabulary. I remember that I learned expressions such as “think twice” or “count your blessings” from kids’ channels while feeding my daughter in front of the TV. Volunteering is another effective approach to help newcomers integrate better and faster into their new community. I personally started with volunteering as an ESL teacher. While I volunteered, I learned many workplace etiquettes that were new to me. I learned to change my work outfit every day, use people’s names when greeting them, and not to wear strong perfume at work. Volunteering also gave me the chance to prove my abilities to my employer. My manager observed that I was punctual, I took initiative to accomplish a task, and I employed creative measures to solve a problem. As a result, my manager hired me after a three-month volunteering period. w w w.thevoiceindiasp

15.SP Data 16.UPS 17.Protocol Integrated Direct Marketing 18.Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc. 19.The Printing House Ltd. By Aurelia Tokaci

Mina, a friend of mine, who could not afford to volunteer, adopted a different strategy. She did all kinds of survival jobs as long as she could speak English at work. She delivered pizza, mopped floors, and made sandwiches. By the end of each month, what she took home were several common expressions and idioms, some useful life skills, more confidence when communicating with English speakers, and enough money to pay the rent. It is definitely not easy to settle down and integrate into a country where everything is so new, but newcomers can employ different strategies to fit in faster and better. I still remember how confused and disheartened I used to feel in my early days in Canada. I don’t know how the new immigrant I saw in the bus is feeling today, but I hope he feels as happily at home as I do now. By Marjan Bateni

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Participants and Volunteers Enjoy Craft Sessions! The Host Program of SISO, in partnership with Philpott Memorial Church, has been organizing Crafts Sessions for Newcomer Women and their children for over two years. The volunteers from the Philpott Church teach different crafts which are very new and interesting for newcomer women. The class teaches women the basics of wonderful crafts, such as knitting beading and rug making. The class not only gives immigrant women the opportunity to learn new and fun skills, but is also an avenue for them to meet and mingle with other women from all over the world in such a cozy setting, taught by very warm and friendly volunteers. Norina a regular participant in the monthly craft sessions has this to say: “As for me, being an immigrant to Canada needs a lot of support and courage. Being an ethnic Malay hailing from Malaysia, I found that I rarely see any other Malays like me in Hamilton, so it was quite a challenge and I was feeling inevitably alone. By getting involved in class-

helps me to assimilate easily into a multiracial community but I also realized that it helps me to emotionally blend into the society.”

ities and I made new acquaintances and

Thank you Norina for sharing your experiences of participating in Host programs monthly craft sessions. The craft class that Norina speaks of is held on the forth Thursday of every month from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Philpott Memorial Church.

even friends. I found out that it not only

We are very thankful to our partner - Phil-

es like this, the craft class in particular, I get to know more than just the skills. I learn about different cultures and ethnic-

pott Memorial Church - for providing us with not only the space to run our monthly craft sessions, but such dedicated and caring volunteers. To help us continue to provide these popular programs (Sewing Clubs and monthly Craft Sessions) we could use your help. You can support these programs and new programs in one of the following ways: Donate materials, craft supplies, buttons, zippers, and other items – threads and yarns of all colours are especially needed,

Volunteer with the Craft Sessions or the Sewing Club, Have a representative from SISO come out to your organization, community or worship group to talk about partnering with SISO’s Host Program, in a similar way to our partnership with Philpott Church. Call Susan or Nazia at the Host Program at 905-667-7476 or email us at getinvolved@

Mobile Services for Newcomers Check out the locations next to you!





Thu 1





January 2009


New Years Day

Fri 2

Mountain Mosque





734 Rennie St.





No Frills





1545 Stone Church Rd E 12pm-3pm





No Frills 801 Mohawk Rd. W 10am-4pm




For information regarding SISO’s mobile services 1 2 Dec 08-Jan 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 1

734 Rennie St. 12pm-3pm


Oriole Cres. @ Armstrong Grandville @ Delawana

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24 Umar Mosque

County Fair Plaza Grandville @ Delawana 499 Mohawk Rd. E Oriole Cres. @ Armstrong 10am-4pm 10am-4pm 12pm-6pm



Mountain Mosque

801 Mohawk Rd W Oriole Cres. @ Armstrong Grandville @ Delawana 12pm—6pm 10am-4pm 10am-4pm



Umar Mosque

499 Mohawk Rd. E Oriole Cres. @ Armstrong Grandville @ Delawana 12pm—6pm


1545 Stone Church Rd E 12pm-3pm

County Fair Plaza 10am-4pm




Mountain Mosque 1545 Stone Church Rd E 12pm-3pm

call us at (905) 667-SISO (7476)

Where Is Your Trust? Trust is explained to mean “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence”, (Dictionary reference. com)

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.(Proverbs 3:5,6) ) Simple question, but evokes a lot of meanings. Growing up as a tomboy in a predominantly male dominated environment, I learnt early to trust in my strength, and to fend for my self. Culturally, my society was patriarchal, and wives and children look up to the males in the family for protection and provision of life’s necessities. Thus, I grew up trusting in my strength, my father, and later on when I married, on my late husband. However, that unquestioned loyalty and blind trust in the males in my life has shifted dramatically ever since I found myself here in Canada as a single mother. For many women, and even men, they put their trust in fellow human beings. May be like me, some day that would change.

Having fully understood the meaning of trust, we now know that trust is all-embracing and whoever is a victim is firmly held under its clutches. However, having the Bible as our point of reference as Christians, trust as used to describe our relationship with God the father presents a beautiful meaning. The Bible is clearly worded and did not mince words on whom to trust. Christians are to trust God and Him alone, because He is the creator of all things. God knows all things and has the power to change all things; He is un-limited in knowledge and knows the end from the beginning. That calls for respect and trust in Him. Man is a creature, the handiwork of God’s artistic abilities, limited in knowledge and wisdom. Therefore man can neither change nor perfect anything. Why then do people put all their trust in their fellow human beings? Thus, when we trust in our abilities; wealth, connections, professions, and other frivolities that would not advance our acceptance into God’s kingdom, we

are but wasting our time. Many people belong to various organizations and associations trusting that their membership would buy them good and befitting burial when they pass away. Others put all their trust in their husbands and or their wives, forgetting that they are human beings who have shortcomings too. Hence, once trust is broken, disappointment and grief set in, and trust is forever banished from those homes. As for me, I trust, but barely entirely on fellow human beings anymore. I have learnt a lesson of a lifetime trusting my fellow beings. I thought life would always be rosy when I studied Law, married my heart-throb; had beautiful children; travelled the world over, and had the most things life could buy. I never thought or worried about finances, because my husband took care of everything. I never worried about driving, because he drove me to places I wanted to go, or got the chauffeur to drive me. I was never serious about trying to find or have a career, because he was a good provider. Literally, I lived under his shadow, never wanting to take any initiative to advance myself. I put all my trust in him, and he promised me he would always take good care of me and the children. But, life is not what we wish; it is what God destined us to be. I have stopped wishing to have wings and

fly like the birds; I am contented seeing a bird flying and appreciating its uniqueness amongst God’s creatures. Below are beautiful bible passages all sending the same message to you, the readers, TRUST IN THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND IN HIM ALONE! Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:14) O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalm 34:8) The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. (Psalm 34:22) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:3-5) For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9) ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

Four individuals were recognized by the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board Four individuals were recognized by the HamiltonWentworth Catholic District School Board at an Awards Ceremony on November 25th for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education. Flanked on the left by Chairperson Patrick J. Daly and Director of Education Marcel

Castura on the right, the 2008 award recipients are, from left to right, Cecelia Carter-Smith, the Most Reverend Anthony F. Tonnos, D.D., Bishop of Hamilton, Michael Morton and Angelo Crosta. Since the awards program was first introduced in 1989, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School

Board has honoured 56 individuals and more than a dozen institutions and groups who have contributed in some extraordinary way to the promotion and development of Catholic education. ■

Eid Al-Adha

The Festival of Sacrifice prayer followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid ul-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for two to three days or more depending on the country. Eid ul-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. Traditions and Practices

Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide in commemoration of Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah intervened: instead Allah provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal, as a reminder of Ibra-

him's obedience to Allah. The meat is then shared out with family and friends, as well as the poorer members of the community (Islam names Ishmael as the son who was to be sacrificed, whereas the Judeo-Christian name Isaac). Eid al-Adha is one of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. (Muslims in Iran celebrate a third, non-denominational Eid) Like Eid el-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha begins with a short

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id) in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) sacrifice. The sacrificed animals, called "udhiya" also known as "qurbani", have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. Generally, these must be at least a year old. At the time of sacrifice, Allah's name is recited w w w.thevoiceindiasp

along with the offering statement and a supplication as Muhammad said. According to the Quran, the meat is divided into three shares, one share for the poor, one share for the relatives and neighbours, and the last to keep to oneself. A large portion of the meat must be given towards the poor and hungry people so they can all join in the feast which is held on Eid-ul-Adha. The remainder is cooked for the family celebration meal in which relatives and friends are invited to share. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during these days. Eid ulAdha is a concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relations, starting with their parents, then their families and friends. ■

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People risk hearing loss at younger ages, experts warn Young people risk long-term damage to their hearing if they don't change their listening habits, according to a study of high school students in Ontario released as part of a prevention campaign. At part of a project by the Hearing Foundation of Canada, 30 per cent of the 145 students surveyed listened at levels of 91 decibels or higher for an average of 2.9 hours a day — a level and length of time at which hearing experts said long-term damage can occur. "What's happening is that the hearing loss starts now with the young people," Dr. Robert Harrison, director of the Auditory Science Laboratory at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, said Monday. "They don't recognize it, but it becomes clear in 10 years time or 15 years times when they all start to develop a hearing loss which normally they wouldn't get until they're in their 60s." Ear buds in all day "The loudest was a young man who listened to his sound at the level 121 decibels," said Aubrey LeBlanc, chair of the board of the Hearing Foundation of Canada, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of hearing loss. "That is the equivalent of standing next to a running

jet engine in an airplane at a distance of 20 feet [six metres]." The survey results aren't scientifically rigorous, but they are telling in terms of revealing the extent of the problem, LeBlanc said. The Ontario results are consistent with research studies in the U.S., Europe and Australia that show the average level of noise exposure is contributing to hearing loss at earlier ages, Harrison said. People may also start out listening to music at a low level but turn it up to drown out background noise. By the end of the day, they've gotten used to listening at a higher decibel-level, said Alex Sévigny, a professor of communication studies and multimedia at McMaster University in Hamilton. Positive peer pressure The students are sharing common-sense recommendations with each other, such as: • Set the level of players in a quiet environment and don't turn it up when entering a noisy subway or classroom. • Use ear phones that fit snugly into the ear canal or around the head to block out surrounding noise.

Smoking riskier to women's hearts than men's didn't smoke, and at 64 if they did. Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn't smoke, and at age 66 if they did. After adjusting for other heart risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, researchers found that the difference for women was about 14 years and for men, about six years. Previous studies looking at a possible gender difference have been inconclusive. Doctors have long suspected that female hormones protect women against heart disease. Estrogen is thought to raise the levels of good cholesterol as well as enabling blood vessel walls to relax more easily, thus lowering the chances of a blockage. Women typically get heart disease much later than men, but not if they smoke, researchers said recently.

Grundtvig said that smoking might make women go through menopause earlier, leaving them less protected against a heart attack.

In fact, women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier than women who don't smoke, Norwegian doctors reported in a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology. For men, the gap is not so dramatic; male smokers have heart attacks about six years earlier than men who don't smoke.

With rising rates of smoking in women — compared with falling rates in men — Grundtvig said doctors expect to see increased heart disease in women.

"This is not a minor difference," said Dr. Silvia Priori, a cardiologist at the Scientific Institute in Pavia, Italy. "Women need to realize they are losing much more than men when they smoke," she said. Priori was not connected to the research. Dr. Morten Grundtvig and colleagues from the Innlandet Hospital Trust in Lillehammer, Norway, based their study on data from 1,784 patients admitted for a first heart attack at a hospital in Lillehammer. Their study found that the men on average had their first heart attack at age 72 if they

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"Smoking might erase the natural advantage that women have," said Dr. Robert Harrington, a professor of medicine at Duke University and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology. Doctors aren't yet sure whether other cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol and obesity also affect women differently. "The difference in how smoking affects women and men is profound," Harrington said. "Unless women don't smoke or quit, they risk ending up with the same terrible diseases as men, only at a much earlier age." ■

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The volume of personal music players isn't the whole problem, said Kathleen Flear, 16, who was one of the researchers. "Some kids have their ear buds in all during class, and on their way home, and you know when they're making dinner and then when they're going to sleep," said Flear. "So some people can listen to it for up to 10 hours a day, and it's just crazy." Flear and the other young researchers are part of a two-day summit aimed at helping the foundation develop a pilot program that will start in three high schools in spring 2009. Grade 12 students will show younger students how to protect their hearing and still enjoy music, using lec-

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Poverty Making Us Sick, Raising Incomes Best Prescription “This important new research establishes in the most complete way the strong link between low income and poor health,” says Rick Blickstead, CEO of the Wellesley Institute, which co-sponsored the study. “Prof. Lightman and his colleagues have demonstrated that health equity is truly an issue of national significance. The results confirm for the first time that relatively small increases in incomes of poor Canadians will lead to substantial increases in their health.” The researchers from the Social Assistance in the New Economy (SANE) program at the University of Toronto used the most recent health data. But decision makers may erroneously believe that the global economic tsunami washing over Canada makes alleviating growing poverty and income inequality too expensive, and that threatens to make an already bad situation even worse. The latest findings demonstrate that policy-makers cannot ignore the growing costs of poverty because the costs are relatively smaller than the cost of neglect. Using sophisticated multivariate analysis, the researchers demonstrate that every $1,000 increase in income leads to substantial increases in health. For instance, an annual increase of $1,000 in income for the poorest twenty percent of Canadians will lead to nearly 10,000 fewer chronic conditions,

tures as well as blogs and social networking sites. It may not be easy to make the changes. One researcher said even after his friend saw the results, he was indifferent, saying he liked his music and didn't plan to change his habits. The preventive education program for high school students is funded by a grant from the province's Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. ■

and 6,600 fewer disability days every two weeks. Prof. Lightman and his research colleagues, Andrew Mitchell and Beth Wilson, found that the poorest one-fifth of Canadians, when compared to the richest twenty percent, has: • more than double the rate of diabetes and heart disease; • a sixty percent greater rate of two or more chronic health conditions; • more than three times the rate of bronchitis; • nearly double the rate of arthritis or rheumatism. The poorest fifth of Canada‟s population face a staggering 358% higher rate of disability compared to the richest fifth. The poor experience major health inequality in many other areas, including 128% more mental and behavioural disorders; 95% more ulcers; 63% more chronic conditions; and 33% more circulatory conditions. The Wellesley Institute advances the social determinants of health through community-based research , community engagement , and the informing of public policy. ■

What Sport Can Do - The True Sport Report sport due to its protective effects against osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, suicide and adolescent pregnancy.

The report is a comprehensive document outlining the public benefits of community sport. “What Sport Can Do: The True Sport Report” outlines conclusive proof of how good sport can be used intentionally to positively influence a wide range of societal goals, including child and youth development, crime prevention, education, social inclusion and economic and environmental sustainability.

Social development • Sport can help to strengthen communities by building social capital and fostering greater inclusion of marginalized groups like the disabled. • Sport can help to facilitate the integration of newcomers. Economic development

The report demonstrates that sport can be used to influence public policy to the benefit of Canadians in the following areas:

• Sport plays a significant role in the economy of Canadian communities by providing jobs and enhancing skills and productivity.

Health • Sport can increase the number of active Canadians, and increasing physical activity levels by just 10 per cent would save Canadians over $150 million annually in direct health costs alone.

• Sport contributes to economic development and renewal. For example, in 2004 Canadian households spent $15.8 billion on sport.

• Participation in sport can stem the tide of child obesity – 10 per cent of Canadian children aged 7 -13 are currently at risk of disability, disease and premature death because they are obese.

• Many investments in community sport are investments in green space, with users often becoming advocates for their protection, proper maintenance and expansion.

Environment sustainability

• New greener standards for sport and recreation facilities are helping to ensure that sport is doing its part to make our communities more sustainable. ■ www.

Child and youth development • Youth involved in sport are more likely than non-athletes to eat healthily and weigh less, and less likely to smoke, use drugs, engage in sexual activity, or feel bored or hopeless. • Girls experience particular benefits from

Too little sleep tied to increased cancer risk

Regular exercise can reduce a woman's risk of cancer, but the benefits may slip away if she gets too little sleep, U.S. researchers said on Monday. The study involving 5,968 women in Maryland confirmed previous findings that people who do regular physical activity are less likely to develop cancer. But when the researchers looked at the women ages 18 to 65 who were in the up...Continued from page 1

Smokers' Homes More Likely to House Hungry Kids TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Children who live with adult smokers are more likely to be underfed and undernourished, a new study finds. The same is true for adult members of smoking households, but children feel the impact the most, said study author Dr. Michael Weitzman, chairman of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine. "We know that there are long-term consequences of food insecurity for children. They are more likely to do poorly in school, to have iron deficiency and anemia, and to have behavioral and social problems," Weitzman said. "Food insecurity" is a concept that was

per half in terms of the amount of physical exercise they got per week, they found that sleep appeared to play an important role in cancer risk. Those who slept less than seven hours nightly had a 47 percent higher risk of cancer than those who got more sleep among the physically active women, the researchers reported at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. "We think it's quite interesting and intriguing. It's kind of a first look into this. It isn't something that has been widely studied," James McClain of the National Cancer Institute, part of the U.S. governdeveloped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1990s to study malnutrition in developed countries such as the United States. "It is a standardized scale measuring how many times a household cannot give children the food they want, how many meals they skip, how often they go to bed hungry," Weitzman said. Looking at data on 8,817 households gathered in national surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Weitzman and his colleagues found that 15 percent of adults and 11 percent of children reported food insecurity within the past year, with 6 percent of adults and 1 percent of children experiencing severe food insecurity. This meant they went to bed hungry, because there wasn't enough food in the house. The study found that 23 percent of households with children had at least one smoker, with the incidence higher -- 32 percent -- in low-income households. In those households with a smoker, 17 percent of children were food insecure, compared to 8.7 percent of those children in nonsmoking households. Severe food insecurity was reported for 3.2 percent of children in smoking households, compared to 0.9

ment's National Institutes of Health, said in a telephone interview. McClain, who led the study, said it is unclear exactly how getting too little sleep may make one more susceptible to cancer. "Getting adequate sleep has been long associated with health," McClain said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sleep loss an under-recognized public health problem, saying Americans are getting less and less slumber. The CDC said the percentage of adults reporting sleeping six hours or fewer a night increased from 1985 to 2006.

associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, cigarette smoking and excessive drinking. In addition, research had shown that people who get regular exercise have a reduced risk of breast, colon and other types of cancer. Experts think the effects of exercise on the body's hormone levels, immune function and body weight may play an important role. ■ Will Dunham American Association for Cancer Research.

Sleep experts say chronic sleep loss is percent of those living in households with no smokers. Because families with at least one smoker spend an estimated 2 percent to 20 percent of their income on tobacco, it's quite likely that smokers' habits drain the money needed to provide adequate food, according to background information with the study. Parents feel the food pinch themselves, Weitzman said. "They cut back on feeding themselves before they cut back on the children's food," he said. "And parents tend to feed the youngest children better." The findings were published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. The problem is likely to grow worse, given the current condition of the economy, Weitzman said. "If the economic downturn persists, both food insecurity and adults smoking are likely to increase," he said, because smoking "is one of the hardest addictions to give up." One sure way to reduce smoking -- raising the taxes on cigarettes -- has its own dangers, because it's likely to cut even more into the family food budget, Weitzman w w w.thevoiceindiasp

said. Two other strategies should be considered, said John F. Banzhaf III, executive director and chief counsel of Action on Smoking and Health, a Washington, D.C.based advocacy organization. "The first would be to persuade or even require physicians to report, as the law already requires in suspected child abuse, instances where parents smoke at home in the presence of children, especially children who already have asthma, sinusitis or other conditions which make them especially sensitive and susceptible," Banzhaf said. A more aggressive tactic would be to take steps against doctors who do not warn people about the dangers of smoking or provide effective smoking cessation treatment, he said. "One journal article has even gone so far as to suggest that the best, and perhaps the only, way to motivate most of them would be to begin bringing malpractice actions where medical problems results," he added. ■ HealthDay

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St. Joseph Immigrant Women's Centre (4th International Market Place Event) Held November 2008

Iraqi Women/Doughters' Celebration

HCCI Community Mobilization Re-Union 2008

SISO 15th Aniversary

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SISO 15th Aniversary

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SISO 15th Aniversary

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Nigerians in Hamilton Christmas Party

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call for nominations YWCA Hamilton presents the 2009 Women of Distinction Awards, celebrating the achievements of woman who have made a significant difference in the City of Hamilton by showing vision, creativity and initiative.

Award recipients and nominees will be honoured for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the community in the following 10 categories: Arts, Entertainment and Creative Energy Mentoring and Education Health and Wellness Business, Industry and Entrepreneurship Volunteerism Young Woman of Distinction Community Development and Social Activism Circle of Friends Lifetime Achievement Politics and Public Affairs

deadline for nominations is february 20, 2009 - 4:00pm

Nomination Packages can be picked up at and delivered to: YWCA Hamilton 75 MacNab St. S. Hamilton ON L8P 3C1 Nomination form also available for download at For more information, call YWCA Hamilton at 905-522-9922 ext. 127 This year’s event is on Tuesday May 5th at the Hamilton Convention Centre Get your tickets early!

Hate Crimes Victim Advocacy Network Training Graduation

Since September 18, 2008, the Hate Crimes Prevention Program with Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) and the Settlement & Integration Services Organization (SISO) has hosted a 10-session series with the goal to fill the deficit of support for victims of hate crimes in Hamilton who are vulnerable and unable to access counselling services. The series aimed at providing participants with appropriate training and information to become Victim Advocates: members of the community who possess an understanding of the unique issues and sensitivities experienced by victims of hate crimes, and who can provide support and relevant information. Over 100 members from organizations, the community, schools and interest groups have attended the training series. Among them are: the Sudanese League of Hamilton; Razavi Islamic Centre; Canada World Youth; CATCH; Native Women’s Centre; CAPC; YWCA; Social Planning & Research Council; Catholic Family Services; Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board; Mohawk College; Orchard

Park Secondary School; Glendale Secondary School; Saint Jean de Brebeuf Secondary School; HIFY; VPI; and the LGBTQ community. The 10 week training had its grand finale, as 106 participants graduated. Graduation ceremony was held November 21 2008 at Dominic Agostino Riverdale Community

Centre. We were fortunate to have Mayor Eisenberger, Det. Chris Kiriakopoulos from Hamilton Police and Morteza Jafarpour SISO's ED joining us to say few words to recognize the great work our participants have done.

(Radenka Lescesen)Program Coordinator, Hate Crimes Prevention Program Settlement & Integration Services Organization (SISO) ■


Eliminating Barriers to a Better Life International Day of Persons with Disabilities U N I T Y I N D I V E R S I T Y ∞ Read on page 4 ∞ Read...


Eliminating Barriers to a Better Life International Day of Persons with Disabilities U N I T Y I N D I V E R S I T Y ∞ Read on page 4 ∞ Read...