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June & July 2010 • Volume 3 • Issue 4 • w w • T:905.920.1752

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


NEW PAGE! FYI Page (For Your Information) 14

July 1st - Canada at 143 Years

What New Canadians Say about Canada

Community Happenings

Page 15

Apartment Buildings & Bed Bugs

New Immigrants Cry Out! common is that they are ninety percent rented out to immigrants, who are living below the poverty level, and are grossly un-aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Sergio Lopez

Sergio Lopez (Migrated from Mexico) “Canada is a beautiful country. I like the weather, the sense of security, and opportunities in Canada. I also like to learn about different cultures, languages, and people. The Canadian government provided good policies for immigrants to live better lives here. The Canadian people are kind”

Sandra Alba

other. I have found out that Canadians are 100% polite. Though my English is not very good, still when I talk on the phone with Canadians, they are very accommodating and patient with me. The only problem I see in Canada is too much taxes and the difficulty in getting jobs”

Some high-rise apartment buildings in our city housing recent and not-too-recent refugees and immigrants to Canada are infested with bed bugs in alarming proportion. Beside bed bugs, some of these apartment buildings are infested with mice and cockroaches as well. Many of these buildings are in bad cosmetic appearances, and are every thing but clean. ... What all these apartment buildings that are located centrally in our city have in

Arvind Singh

Yue Hui Wang

Arvind Singh. (Indian Heritage) “I do not know how Canadian I was until I travelled to India, in terms of the educations I received, the values I have adopted, and generally, my world view. I am strongly Canadian, though my Indian roots are still there. Canada has a true open identity. Good thing about Canada is that one can assume any religious or cultural identity one chooses without being challenged unlike other countries that tend to control people and repress their views. Canada truly possesses a multi-cultural identity, not a uni-cultural one. However, whether people accept this fact or not is another question”

Yue Hui Wang (From China) “I knew a little about Canada when I was back in China. When I came here, I liked what I saw, I was not disappointed. I see Canada as a big, developed country with few people living in it. So, this means a lot of opportunities for those who are here. In China, there are many people and fewer opportunities. China does not allow people to have freedom, the government control how many children you can have. But here in Canada, there is freedom; there is no control over how many children you can have. Canadian government provides good policies for Immigrants and give good, free education at childhood and that is important step. Alsom there is good health care in Canada. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

Sandra Alba (From Columbia) “Canada is a big country and well organized. Different cultures live here and learn about one an-

World Refugee Day 2010

Service providers for these new immigrants and refugees are constantly besieged with complaints about sufferings from bed bug menace on families living in those apartment buildings. The Voice in Diaspora was recently invited by a new mother, who barely speaks English, to see the bite marks on her entire body caused by bed bug. The new baby was not spared either, as he constantly cries and remains restless and hardly sleeps at night according to the mother. There have been so many complaints to their workers, but the sad fact remains that nothing much had been done to arrest the situation, says the new mother. “Right now, says her interpreter, bed bug infestation has reached an ∞ Continued on page 14



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Newcomer Family Centre

The Voice Editorial June/July 2010 Each year, many people come to Canada, fleeing from lifethreatening and dangerous situations from their countries of origin. Yours truly was one of those that left behind a totalitarian regime eleven years ago and sojourned here, ‘The True North strong and free! The rest is now history. Each and every day when I see new families in our city, mothers shepherding their little children to and fro the day care centres, doctor’s offices and shopping malls; and men gathered in groups in front of their apartment buildings discussing pertinent issues; some looking very confused and defeated, others happily going about their businesses, my heart always goes out to them. Not many days go by without my remembering my earliest days in Hamilton, confused, alone, five small children, welfare, food banks, freedom, etc. My earliest experience here was bitter sweet. I was happy being in Canada, but at the same time very sad because of how difficult the system was to navigate. Some days, I felt like taking my children and boarding the next flight back to our home country. But, the dread of the uncertainty that awaits me if I ventured back home, made me swallow any temporary hardship I was faced with then. I am glad I was a little bit patient and rational. The new refugees and Immigrants that come to settle in Hamilton are by all means going through emotions as they navigate through the system. Some will stay here in Hamilton, while many will move to other cities and provinces in search of better conditions. What we owe them is help to ease their settlement. As the world celebrates Refugee Day on June 21st, every one is called upon to reflect on the hardships refugees and displaced persons face in their daily lives, and to offer help in any way possible to ease those hardships. It is factual that most foreign-born Canadians are forever indebted to Canada and Canadians for opening their arms and embracing every one. Truly, Canada is a unique country with incredible humane principles that promote affinity amongst strangers. We all salute and respect this great nation and rejoice on its 143 years anniversary. Finally, the Voice in Diaspora wishes all Dads out there “Happy Fathers’ Day”

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The Voice in Diaspora Are you interested in reaching out to others? Do you have experience organizing or conducting workshops? Do you have good inter-personal skills? If Yes, Contact us for an enriching opportunity to work with the ethno-cultural population in Hamilton. Call: (905) 920 1752


June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

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Location and route at

Canada Continues to Welcome Historically High Numbers of Immigrants and low birthrate, and sustain our workforce,” said Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney In addition, 178,640 temporary foreign workers and 85,131 international students began their temporary residences in Canada last year. Kenney highlighted the benefits international students, many of whom choose to stay permanently in Canada through the various immigration options available to them, bring to the country. Canada continues to welcome historically high numbers of immigrants Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in May 2010, released preliminary data about the number of permanent and temporary residents Canada welcomed in 2009. The figures show that Canada continues to maintain a historically high rate of immigration. A total of 252,124 permanent residents

arrived in Canada in 2009, more than half of which were economic immigrants (newcomers who immigrated through the Federal Skilled Worker program, a Provincial Nominee Program, the Quebec Skilled Worker category, and the Canadian Experience Class category). “The Government of Canada is maintaining immigration levels to meet Canada’s short-, medium- and long-term economic needs, help offset our aging population

“The number of foreign students who came to Canada grew by seven percent last year, resulting in the highest number of foreign students ever admitted to Canada. To be a more innovative society able to compete and prosper in a global, knowledge-based economy, Canada needs people with an international outlook, skills and experience. Attracting more international students is a priority for our government,” he said.

Even as Canada maintains its high rate of immigration, the federal government is currently reviewing the Federal Skilled Worker program with a view to modifying the 38 occupations that are currently “open” under the program. Applicants who currently qualify for a Canadian permanent resident visa would be wise to submit their applications as soon as possible, before any changes are announced. ■

Canada Set to Welcome More Chinese Tourists Approved Destination Status, which will make it much easier for Chinese travellers to obtain tourist visas to visit our home and native land. The agreement will also permit Chinese travel agencies to market tour group trips to Canada, and allow Canadian tourist businesses and destinations to promote themselves in China. In light of this agreement, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that Chinese tourist visits to Canada will increase by up to 50% over the next five years, providing an incredible boost to our tourism industry.

May 25th, 2010 - If you own a tourism business or if your business generates substantial revenue from tourists, you're surely aware that last year was a challenging year for the tourism industry. The 2009 Annual Report of the Canadian Tourism Commission indicates that tourism reve-

nues dropped across the board compared to 2008. Fortunately, however, the very near future may see substantial growth in the number of Chinese travellers to Canada. This past December, China agreed to grant Canada

Are you a Canadian tour operator? The Canada-China Inbound Tour Operator Accreditation Office (ITOAO) is now accepting applications for this summer. Accreditation allows tour operators to receive groups of Chinese tourists who book their travel with approved travel agents in China. Looking for more news and information on Canada's tourism industry? Check out the media centre and corporate website

New Immigrant Lauds The New Hamilton's Immigration Portal “Immigrants here are not confined to distinct ethnic colonies, but they are very well amalgamated into other communities. The city has a unique demographic harmony…” Mr Ernesto is a new face in Hamilton, one who is navigating the system to achieve his Canadian dreams. He attended the launch of the new Hamilton’s Immigration Portal, a website that connects newcomers to local services and other information about Hamilton. Mr. Ernesto was full of praises for the new website, and the city of Hamilton for welcoming new immigrants into their community. Mr. Ernesto emigrated from Cuba with his family almost a year ago. He came with his wife and a little cute daughter and settled here in Hamilton. He used to be a lawyer by profession, and specialized in Copy Right & Intellectual Property. He is working as a shelving man in a Canadian Tire store. This job is quite different from his career as a lawyer back in Cuba. However, he does not want to sit around doing nothing, thus he is doing this job to feed his family while laying out good plans to go back to his le-

gal profession. Besides being busy in his routine survival job, Mr. Ernesto volunteers his time with organizations. He took part in volunteering event for Canadian Music Week Toronto. He has been successful in establishing networks in the community and through various organizations. He values his connections with “The Canadian Performing Rights Society” a lot. Though his dream is to get back into his profession, however, he is planning to take courses to be a paralegal first. He attaches tremendous importance to CPRS for waging ways into his dream profession. His wife is also going to start working this week and the family is looking forward to this progress.

In response to a question about the memories of his native Cuba, he misses his homeland and the expanded family living there, but intends to make the Hamilton a permanent home. Hamilton is his favourite place. “This is a familyfriendly city and I intend to raise my daughter in this peaceful city” he intones. Ernesto sees Hamilton as a welcoming city, which encourages newcomers to draw closer to one another. “Immigrants here are not confined to distinct ethnic colonies, but they are very well amalgamated into other communities. The city has a unique demographic harmony. It defends all communities including new comers and out rightly rejects any sort of racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious discrimination” Ernesto contributes. Mr. Ernesto appeals to all inhabitants to make Hamilton, the World’s Capital of Water-Falls, more peaceful and attractive for everyone. ■ Interviewer: Ahmad Hussain for “The Voice in Diaspora”

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of Canada's national tourism marketing organization, the Canadian Tourism Commission. ■

The Voice in Diaspora 571 James Street N. L8L 1J8 Hamilton, Ontario

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 Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing Tel: (905) 920 1752

Contributors Nica Brown , 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. 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/materials expressed/used by writers/ contributors 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.

June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


Gang Proof

Breaking the Cycle of Violence Video book the video for your school or community group, call the Hamilton Police School Liaison Officer in your area: Division One (central Hamilton): 540-6088/905-546-4918


Division Two (east Hamilton): 905-5462958/905-546-2959 Division Three (Mountain and outlying areas): 905-546-3889 ■ TVID Hamilton Police Service, John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area, and Hamilton Community Foundation premiered a documentary on gang violence on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., at The Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid St., Hamilton, ON. Parents, educators, and community members are invited to attend. Admission was free. Gang Proof: Breaking the Cycle of Violence was produced with the support of Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Tweedle Productions and Crime Stoppers of Hamilton Inc. The documentary chronicled the gang lifestyle and ‘dares’ viewers to break the cycle of violence. Through a number of interviews including individuals previously involved in the gang-lifestyle, community members and police, the myths of a gang lifestyle were explored and solutions were presented. The screening was followed by a panel discussion on gangs, gang violence and options for educators and parents. The video will be shown at area schools as part of a comprehensive presentation that includes educational information. To

Hamilton Police Celebration - May 12 On May 12th, Hamilton Police celebrated ‘Police in the Park’ at Bayfront Park, as part of the police week activities. Though the weather was very chilly, it did not dampened the spirits of many who came to be part of the event. There were many children from the city schools, as well as parents who came to the event. The police were generous enough to educate visitors about the function of various Police units. Children are always fascinated with Fire trucks, and some had their dreams fulfilled playing inside a fire truck on the scene. The Forensic unit was on hand to do finger prints on the children as part of the day’s activity. Also present and very much loved by all in the crowd was the Police dog that helps the Police do their work. It was a specially trained dog and is very important for the unit. For those who were fortunate enough to enjoy that day, Hamilton police introduced the first mounted unit in Hamilton - Barron, Lincoln, Griffin and Trooper, (the four black Percheron breed horses). The big, black animals were presented with badges and their names unveiled before a group of Hamilton school kids who won the contest to name three horses. The


June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

fourth was named in a police competition. The mounted unit has gone through 15 months of training. Sergeant Marty Schulenberg, commander of the unit, said it felt great to finally have the horses out. The three-year pilot project, at $72,000 plus $10,000 operational costs each year, will mark the first time the service has had a mounted unit. So the unveiling has been planned with much fanfare. The unit's intention is to be a highly visible patrol unit, mostly in the downtown, and will be available in areas throughout the city requiring special attention, he said. The mounted unit is made up of police constables Brad Adams, Greg Mills, Valika Zafirides and Preston Gabriele, all chosen based on their high scores on strength and flexibility tests. All Hamiltonians are looking forward to watching the Hamilton police on these big horses as they patrol our neighbourhoods to keep us all safe. (Katrina Echevarria for The Voice in Diaspora) ■ TVID

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Muslim Women Council Celebrates May 21, 2010, Muslim women gathered to celebrate their first anniversary as a union. The event, well attended by various ethnic and cultural groupings under the umbrella of Islam, was well organized and well attended. Speaking to usher in series of activities slated to educate and amuse the audience, member of the union and SISO Manager of the Newcomer Family Centre, Uzma Qureshi, applauded the vision of the union to build capacity and unity amongst all Muslim women in Hamilton. Uzma praised the strength of Muslim women, and encouraged them to ensure

strong unity exist amongst them. Lisa Mirza, spoke on her life experiences as a young muslim girl growing up amongst males in her native Pakistan, and how she was treated no differently from her male siblings. However, she noted that as she developed into maturity, the society started to define a gender role for her, and tend to confine her to those societal acceptable roles. Lisa sees society world over as being influenced by stero-types about gender roles, but more define for Muslim women. As a result, people tend to lose their identity, and act very well in such societal chosen roles. Lisa thinks society is full of contrasting perspectives. In

one society, Lisa thinks female roles are over imposed, and thinks the grass would be greener on the other side of the fence. However, what she found out is the similarities in practice. Women still face discrimination in the workplace, pay equity issues, domestic violence and all the ills affecting women every where. Liza concluded that she has finally arrived at a decision to emphasize her rights as a person, and a Muslim woman. She finally took charge of her life, no longer trying to live her life through the lens of the society. Lisa believed she knows what it means to participate in civic engagements, and enjoined all others to stand firm on their values and beliefs, and embrace unity and diversity irrespective of distinctive cultural differences. The highlight of the event was a fashion parade show casing different ethnic attires, from countries like Iraq, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bagdad, and Morocco. Audience included men, women and children from difference ethnic backgrounds. ■ TVID

Famous Quotes about Canada God Bless America, but God help Canada to put up with them! Anonymous Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Canada is like your attic, you forget that it's up there, but when you go, it's like "Oh man, look at all this great stuff!" Anonymous "I take tips from Canada on a lot of things" Barack Obama Canada has shown the world how to balance freedom with compassion and tradition with innovation, in your efforts to provide health care to all your citizens, to treat your senior citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve ... ~1995. Address to Canadian House of Commons. Bill Clinton In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect. Bill Clinton I believe the world needs more Canada. Bono Canadians are more polite when they are being rude than Americans are when they are being friendly. Edgar Friedenberg Wherever you go in the world, you just have to say you're a Canadian and people laugh. John Candy It is a peaceful, nice country with lots of empty space, a boring government that never faces serious crises, a minimal trade partner and the source of singers with strange accents. John Dickinson Fortunately, the Canadian people in all their habits are essentially a temperate people. William L. M. King If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography. William L. M. King Canada has never been a melting-pot; more like a tossed salad. Arnold Edinborough ■

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June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


Mesopotamian Civilization Day

A gateway to discover Iraq's Ancient Civilization

The Iraqi-Canadian Association of Hamilton hosted the Mesopotamia Civilizations Day event on Saturday May 22. The idea was to showcase their culture which has been preserved for centuries, and to connect Iraqi children and the general public to this ancient culture and show its link to modern civilization. It was a day filled with interesting activities; the highlight was a tour through Mesopotamia’s rich history and civilization. Those that attended enjoyed children’s reading circle, ancient Mesopotamia bingo, and photographic gallery and craft workshops. ‘It is an amazing experience and such an honor to be part of this event; and I feel proud of my culture’ said Dunia Salman a young Iraqi girl who was part of the crowd. For Samer Salman vice-president of IraqiCanadian Association of Hamilton, Mesopotamian Civilization Day celebration is ‘to honor the ancient civilization of Iraq, because close to 5,000 years ago, that civilization contributed to the development

of the human race. It was from ancient Mesopotamia that writing, calendar; music, mathematics and law as is we know today were invented’. This celebration connects the past with the present, and it is meant to share this ancient civilization with our children and others’ Also, the event was used to highlight the importance of women in the ancient culture. ‘For me’ said Azhar Alani dressed elegantly in a white headscarf, ‘in ancient Babylonia, Assyria and similar cultures, the place of the woman in the society was highly respected. Women were regarded as very important beings. Society gave women the responsibility of raising

children because raising children was something really important. So, I am very proud of being an Iraqi woman’ ■ Karina Echeverria

Minister of Citizenship & Immigration & Minister of Consumer Services Join with Hamilton Newcomers to Launch City's Immigration Portal ers from many sectors of the Hamilton community to pursue its vision of Hamilton as an inclusive community where the talents and experience that immigrants and refugees bring are valued because they are integral to making Hamilton the best place to raise a child. Hamilton’s Local Immigration Partnership Council is currently developing an immigration strategy to better position Hamilton as a destination and model integrated community.

Hamilton – The Honourable Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration joined Hamilton newcomers to celebrate the launch of Hamilton’s immigration portal – an opportunity for newcomers to connect to local services and share experiences and information on settling in Hamilton. Minister Hoskins was joined by Mayor Eisenberger, the Honourable Sophia Aggelonitis, Member of Provincial Parliament for Hamilton Mountain and Council members at Liuna Station where they welcomed more than 80 newcomers who were integral to the development of the new website. In 2008, Hamilton received a grant of $330,000 under the Municipal Immigration Information Online program to develop a website to assist in the settlement and retention of Hamilton newcomers. The project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Citizenship and Immigration Canada through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. With the funding, user centred design work was done with local newcomers that included 100 in-person surveys, 15 in-depth interviews and multiple rounds of usability studies with prototypes based on the aggregated needs of the audience. The goal was to understand some of the key tasks local newcomers are trying to accomplish and look for ways that technology could support those tasks. Local immigration focused organizations have supported the City’s approach and in some cases aided in the recruitment efforts – many were in attendance. “This website is a great tool to help the Hamilton region attract the skills and talents of newcomers,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “It will support the economic growth of the region by tapping into vital newcomer talent and investment while providing an opportunity for newcomers


June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

Below are some statistics about Hamilton’s newcomers: Among recent immigrants to Hamilton (arriving between 2001 and 2005), 92% of them have knowledge of English or French. The vast majority of immigrants living in Hamilton have Canadian citizenship: 80% of immigrants have Canadian citizenship, including 10% who also have citizenship in one or more other countries. 41% of immigrants to Hamilton are classified as economic class -- skilled workers,

to contribute to the community. This is an important step towards building a stronger and more open Ontario.” "I am very pleased that, with support from the Ontario government, our community now has a significant tool to help promote itself as a great place to live, work and invest. The new immigration website will help both newcomers and Hamilton to prosper.” said Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain. “We’re pleased to partner with our provincial partners in this important initiative,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “Hamilton’s immigration portal is an opportunity for Hamilton newcomers to find local supw w w.thevoiceindiasp

ports and assistance where people can connect and mentor with other local newcomers and residents to answer questions and provide assistance to each other. Immigrants enrich our society, drive our local economy, and are integral to the future success of Hamilton.” Hamilton is an important Canadian centre for settlement and integration and is one of the top communities in Canada in terms of its diversity and the number of recent immigrants who choose to settle here. The immigration portal ( is one of many initiatives that will benefit the community. Hamilton’s Local Immigration Partnership Council for example brings together civic lead-

business immigrants, or live-in caregivers and their family members. For the time period 2003-2008, immigrants arriving to Hamilton in the 18-64 age group had the following levels of education: 38.4% had a university degree, including: 25.1% had a Bachelor’s Degree. Since 2005, 21 Ontario communities have been funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Citizenship and Immigration Canada through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement to develop local immigration websites to help improve services to newcomers. ■ For more information visit or

An Experience of a Lifetime the windows were covered with sheets of cardboard or paper. A cafeteria and a small shop were located in the centre of the visitors’ area.

It is not a stretch to say that life at Kakuma is often harrowing and challenging. A normal day for a refugee family involves waiting in line for hours and sometimes days for water, fire, food, to see a doctor, to have their case heard or to be registered. In 2008, five refugees lost their lives due to armed robberies at the camp. The GOK responded by deploying 70 dedicated police forces to the camp, along with a contingent of general service units, the paramilitary arm of the police in the camp. However, violence is not the only danger at Kakuma. International Agencies for refugees settlement (Visiting Kukuman Refugee Camp)

In order to place this article in proper context it is necessary at the outset to give the official meaning and description of the term “Refugee” as established by the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR). “A refugee is someone who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence

New Arrivals in Hamilton with Marufa

as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” In March of this year, I was given the opportunity to experience life in a refugee camp. Along with four other resettlement program representatives from Canada, I spent 10 days at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The trip was the initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has been working in partnership with SISO’s (Settlement and Integration Services Organization) Resettlement Program since 2005. The trip was primarily designed for us to meet with the UNHCR, IOM, the Canadian Visa Office and other officials dealing with refugee issues in Kenya. However, the objective was also to give us a true taste of life in a refugee camp by allowing us to actually live in the camp for five days. Kakuma Refugee Camp is located on the outskirts of Kakuma town, which is the district headquarters for the newly created Turkana West District in the Rift Valley Province. Kakuma is classified as a UN Security Phase 3 refugee camp. The security of the humanitarian aid workers, refugees and visitors to the camp falls under the responsibility of the Government of Kenya (GOK). The camp, which is divided into three sections: Kakuma I (mixed nationality),

Kakuma II (predominantly Somalis), and Kakuma III (mixed nationality), was established in 1992 upon the arrival of 16,000 Sudanese minors (lost boys/girls) who, together with about 200 caretakers, undertook a dangerous five-year odyssey when they fled the civil war in Sudan for Ethiopia. Following the downfall of the military regime in Ethiopia in 1991, they were displaced back to an insecure Southern Sudan before being forced to make their way into Kenya. Later that same year, large groups of Ethiopian refugees who had fled their country following the fall of the Government added to the refugee population.

According to official reports from organizations involved in the refugee resettlement program in Kenya, as of February 28, 2010 the total population of Kakuma stood at 66,655 comprised of 39,082 persons from Somalia, 18,698 from Sudan, 5,775 from Ethiopia, 1,778 from Congo, 467 from Rwanda, 351 from Burundi, 390 from Eritrea, 96 from Tanzania, 14 from Djibouti, 2 from Namibia and 1 from Zimbabwe. On the second day after my arrival in Kenya, we flew for one hour and forty minutes to reach Kakuma. Following the plane ride, we drove for another 20 minutes to reach the camp, finally arriving at the Kakuma Camp Officials’ and Visitors’ Residential Area. It was immediately clear that security was a priority. We passed three separate security posts along the way, and at each security gate our driver had to show his access sheet, which indicated the number of passengers in the car, the arrival and departure times, as well as the purpose of the visit. Each time, both the driver and the guard assigned to the gate had to sign a sheet. In fact, even the movements of officials and visitors to the camp were regulated: all visitors and officials had to leave the camp before six o’clock in the evening. Once we arrived at the Visitors’ Residential Area, we were shown to our rooms. There were about 10 to 15 rooms in the residential area, each equipped with a separate washroom which included a shower. Instead of glass,

Our first day at the camp hinted that the weather at Kakuma was unusually cloudy and continuously rainy. This adverse

Marufa in Kakuma Rafugee Cam in Kenya

weather severely affects the living conditions of refugees in the camp. The shelter quarters provided to the families are not strong enough to resist the wind and rain. Oftentimes, following heavy rain, the entire dwelling can be destroyed and require rebuilding. As well, the rain increases the likelihood of mass flooding. Normally, floods come from Uganda and wash away all the shelters. In fact, on my second day at the camp we saw what these floods were capable of. Flood water filled the roads, washed away homes, caused immense panic and killed two refugees in the camp. Humanitarian agencies provide support at Kakuma by dispensing food rations, and implementing protection, education and water & sanitation programs. The UN operation also includes fostering a relationship with the HOST community, putting into effect a health system within the camp, providing training and scholarship programs for refugees and supervising the security measures, with the UNHCR Sub-Office in Kakuma administering core protection activities that include registration and accelerated Refugee Status Determination (RSD). The following is a detailed description of the services provided by the UN: • Health: UNHCR through International Resource Committee (IRC) provides health care, nutrition and HIV/AIDS services to both the refugee population and the host community. In Kakuma there is a 120-bed hospital and two satellite clinics. • Water and Sanitation: Lutheran World Federation (LWF) operates 9 boreholes to provide water to refugees in the camp. In February 2010, on average, each refugee received 25.5 liters per person per day. • Sanitation: As of February 2010, only 38% of refugees had their own family latrines. The remaining 62% shared latrines.

of February 2010. • Education: Lutheran World Federation (LWF) provides formal and peace education services in the camp. In 2010, a total of 14,740 (6,019 girls) have access to education in Kakuma camp. Kakuma has thirteen primary schools, and just one secondary school. All were built by Angelina Jolie. After meetings with officials, our group participated in Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) sessions with fifteen refugees who were selected to come to Canada. The COA facilitators, Kasim and Eidly, gave amazing presentations. Each was complementary to the other, well organized and very informative. Kasim and Eidly patiently explained the material, and made sure the refugees understood the concept of each subject. While sitting in on these information sessions, I realized how much of a culture shock my cli-

ents must face when coming to Canada. Things such as gloves, snow, electric appliances as well as the lifestyle itself were thoroughly explained to the clients. I now understand why some of our younger clients at the New Dawn Reception House in Hamilton were afraid of snow. On a side note, I was proud to see the “Voice in Diaspora” newspaper in use. Facilitators use the paper to showcase refugee success stories in Canada. After the three-day information session, all participants received certificates and a photo of the group. Out of that group of refugees one family was sent to Calgary, a single mother and child were sent to To-

The Voice in Diaspora in Kakuma Refugee Camp Kenya

ronto and amazingly enough, a family of six was sent to Hamilton and was received at the New Dawn Reception House. Halima, her husband Hassan and their four children were that family of six. They spent fourteen years at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. When Halima arrived at the New Dawn centre in Hamilton and saw my familiar face her eyes filled with tears, and she said, “We survived”. She knew I understood… she knew I understood that life at Kakuma and life here in Canada are light years apart. Marufa Shinwari Resettlement Program Manager New Dawn Reception Centre

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June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


Mohinder's Story

Building Friendship, Memories & Community: A Host Family Match Story

ard and Lee have not only had the opportunity to help Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw better understand Canadian culture and way of life, but have a better appreciation of the differences in culture and life experience. Kim shares how one such difference surfaced on a winter outing with Elizabeth, Aung Kyaw and family. Kim begins her story by telling us why she and her family decided to become Host Volunteers.

By Kim Brown and Arvind Singh When you first meet Mohinder Singh, you are struck by his sense of determination, enthusiasm, and positive spirit. After you talk further, you realize that he has vast experience in the banking and financial sector from India. Second, he has a real desire to learn more about that sector in Canada.

Mohinder migrated to Canada with his wife and two children four years ago. As a seasoned worker, Mohinder held a senior position as a Branch Manager at one of the largest non-banking financial investment companies in India. In India, banks handle normal banking transactions, while financial companies handle investments. This senior position offered Mohinder experience, respect and a high salary. However, when he arrived in Canada, he, like so many other newcomers, had to start from the bottom, unable to utilize his past experience. With humility, he was willing to do any work to support his family, though he plans on using his previous experience in banking and the financial sector. Before he could proceed further with training or sending out his resume, he needed to improve his computer and English skills. Mohinder dedicated himself to both endeavors by taking the Basic Computer course at the Newcomer Family Centre through the Host Program. Before taking Computer course at SISO, he was relying on others to assist him with accessing his email or browsing the web. Even searching and applying for work required him to rely on others. So he realized that acquiring these skills were essential to gain employment in the Canadian labour market. After diligent effort and continuous practice, Mohinder has become self-reliant and able to work on many computer tasks on his own. In fact, he produced an amazing presentation on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which highlighted

his skillful use of graphics and text to promote Vancouver 2010. The Host Program at the Newcomer Family Centre was able to help Mohinder rebuild his confidence by offering an eight-week computer session which was facilitated by a Host volunteer. He describes his instructor, Yue Xi, as extremely patient, friendly and knowledgeable. He appreciated the step-by-step visual examples which enhanced his learning experience. The eight-week, Host Basic Computer sessions, introduced him to MS Word, accessing the web, emails, and other essential skills for job search. He is delighted with the training, since the HOST sessions unlocked his creativity and it piqued his curiosity to learning further on his own. Mohinder continued on his pursuit for more knowledge of computer programs since finishing and receiving his Host Basic Computer Certificate last year. He shares with pride how much knowledge he has gained and has created a portfolio of his PC skills. He presented a revised cover letter and resume along with a PowerPoint presentation that he recently completed. Mohinder demonstrates that with dedication and training barriers can be overcome, because although newcomers face many challenges, a positive attitude can go a long way in recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities offered by organizations such as SISO, that offer programs like Host which connects newcomers with Canadian volunteers for mentorship and integration. ■ To find out more about how you can be matched with a Canadian Family or Friend, make connections in your community, or volunteer and a difference in a family’s life, contact: Susan Cheeseman, Coordinator Volunteer Services at SISO, 905-667-SISO (7476) or .

Bringing two families together, from such different backgrounds and life experiences has proven to be a successful and valiant task on behalf of Host Program participants. Differences in culture, language and life experience can sometimes seem too big to overcome – however friendships have slowly flourished because of the consistent and dedicated efforts of our Host Volunteers and Newcomer families. A commitment to meet on a regular basis allows for shared experiences and positive memories – which bring families closer together. This short passage is about two families who were introduced to each other through SISO’s Host Family Match Program. These families have been friends for over two years and through patient strides have developed a strong friendship with many special memories. Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw came to Canada with their children over two years ago. Due to the situation in their home country, Burma, they were forced to flee to a refugee camp in Thailand. Eventually, Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw were able to move to Canada through support of the UNHCR and Canadian Government. By moving to Canada, they realized there would be a new culture and language to understand. To help solve this problem, they were introduced to a Host Family, where they found Canadian Friends, Kim, Richard and Lee, from whom they could learn. Since their first introduction, their Canadian Friends have helped Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw in many good ways. Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw wrote: “…they advise me, go with us to other places to meet people. This is very good for me,” (January, 2010). Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw also state that their Host Family has helped them learn how to read and write and generally increase their knowledge about living here in Canada; have helped them go to emergency when needed and have taken them to familiar places in and around Hamilton. As family friends, Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw share their future plans and goals with Kim and Richard and are very, very thankful for the help their Host Family has given them. The Host Program has offered Elizabeth and Aung Kyaw the opportunity to share concerns and uncertainties that comes with moving to a new country, with a trusted friend. In the same way, Kim, Rich-


June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

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“We volunteered for the host family program because it offered a chance for us to help out in the community as a family. We felt it was important for our 8-year-old son Lee to see the impact he could make through volunteering. We also felt that the program would open his eyes to some of the challenges faced by other people around the world, and even in Hamilton.

Facing the  difficulties  of  starting  again  in  an   unknown  culture,  Elizabeth  and  Aung  Kyaw   came  to  our  Host  Program.  They  were   introduced  to  Canadian  friends  Kim  Arnott,   Richard  Higgins  and  Lee  Higgins.  

Early in our match, we went on a hike through a forested area. Elizabeth immediately commented on the amount of dead wood lying on the ground. She wanted to know whether people were allowed to take it home. I shrugged and said, “Yes, I would imagine it would be okay to take home.” She then questioned why there would be so much, if people could take it home, and I explained that most people had little need for fallen wood. Elizabeth eventually explained that in the refugee camp where the family had spent the previous twelve years, all cooking was done over a fire. Apparently the search for firewood was a time-consuming and daily chore that led families deep into the nearby forest. While we had known that they lived in difficult circumstances in the camp, the story truly brought to light the challenges of their lives before coming to Canada. It opened all of our eyes to our good fortune, when Elizabeth saw even the Canadian ground as covered in riches of wood,” (January, 2010). According to Kim, this experience with her ‘SISO’ Family provided a small, yet rather poignant example of how different each family’s life had been. A commitment to meet on a regular basis, allowed for the sharing of differences and building of similarities through joint memories. In this case, both families have gained true friendship. Elizabeth, Aung Kyaw and family have friends who are interested, aware of their concerns and actively help to overcome them. Kim, Richard and their son Lee, have special memories with friends who help them understand the differences in culture and an appreciation for similarities. ■ To find out more about how you can be matched with a Canadian Family or Friend, make connections in your community, or volunteer and make a difference in a family’s life, contact: Susan Cheeseman, Coordinator Volunteer Services at SISO, 905-667-SISO (7476) or getinvoloved@ .

The Faces of Poverty (Part 4) In Part 3 of this series, we looked at race and ethnicity, the impact of poverty on this group, and how racialized groups are considered amongst the hardest hit in Canada. In this article we will examine how poverty impacts an individual’s health and affects an entire community, most of all one’s economic standing in a community. Today’s poverty has an incredible social impact on the entire community, and when addressing health in particular, living in poverty has a direct association to poor physical and mental health. As a result, poverty becomes a major obstacle to the realization of basic human rights. A recent declaration of World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health recognizes the poorer a person is, the worse off their quality of health and the shorter their life expectancy will be. It has been estimated that poorer men live 10 years less than more well off men from their own regions. Basically, poverty takes 10 years off your life expectancy. Other indicators also show that children from poor and disadvantaged families are at risk of low literacy. Many poor children either drop out of high school or graduate without being fully literate. Furthermore, The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), a World Health Organization-affiliated body, recognizes the unique problems facing Indigenous peoples across the globe. The Commission held a symposium on Indigenous Health in Adelaide, Australia, for 74 representatives including Canada. The report from the Symposium underlines the resolution of Indigenous poverty as “fundamental to improving health.” Income, education and employment are highlighted for their interdependent impact on health, each leading to “marginalization [and] limiting access to education, employment, good housing and nutritious food.” Representatives also found that “poverty has a direct impact on mental well-being by lowering self-esteem, increasing dependence” and “vitiating one’s ability to participate fully in society.”

(World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, Adelaide 2007.) Canada’s Aboriginal people face far worse, since over 50% of First Nations people are unemployed. One in four children lives in poverty. First Nations suffer from diseases far worse than the rate of Canadians in general. Overcrowding among First Nations is double the rate of that for all Canadians. In some areas, as many as 20 people lived in a three bedroom unit. (Public Service Alliance of Canada, 2008.) Poverty is at the heart of denied opportunities and social exclusion. Today’s poverty impacts far more people, and entire societies are not immune to its effects, whether we measure it on basic cost of treatment, loss of wages and revenue, crime or substance abuse. When addressing health care treatment, hospitalization is a major factor for cost; an adult requiring both mental and physical health can severely diminish the capacity of a facility. Those resources could be better used for other emergencies, etc. Loss of revenue generation for a community is also a factor. An individual who has lived in acute poverty and has suffered poor health as a result of it, may not work again thus depriving a community of a valuable workforce and loss of doing business with this individual in many areas such as buying a home, getting a car loan, and day-to-day shopping. Other factors may lead to increased social crime and substance abuse for which the consequences are far more severe. Poverty does not only impact those who are facing it. Our society in general will pay the ultimate price in so many ways that the wellbeing of our society is jeopardized if we do not collectively address its impact. (This concludes the series of articles on The Faces of Poverty in Hamilton.) ■ By Liban Abdi

Multiculturalism: The Beauty of Canada ing this time the government officially defined multiculturalism as the protection and retention of incoming culture and their languages, while at the same time ensuring equality of opportunity for all to participate in all aspects of Canadian society.

When I think of the word multiculturalism I think of a few buzz words such as cultural sensitivity, inclusivity, political correctness, equality, and anti-racism just to name a few. I also think of people that speak different languages, and have diverse customs and backgrounds all living on the same streets, working together in various places of employment, and attending the same schools and having the same opportunities in life. I began to think about the following questions: from where was this word derived and what does it actually mean? How and why did Canada incorporate this word into political policy? Let’s find out. When I looked up the word multiculturalism it is defined as the doctrine that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can co-exist peacefully and equitably in a single country. The inception of the word actually originates out of an antidote and response to one of the deadliest war in the twentieth century; World War II. The word emerged to eliminate the idea or concept that one nation or culture was superior to all others. Multiculturalism meant that there would be respect for all nations and peoples. This pluralistic guided philosophy was analyzed and observed by many nations around the world, one of which is Canada. Canada embraced the concept of multiculturalism in the early 1960’s as there was a concern for Canadian identity. The sociologists at the time developed a vision called ‘interculturalism’. Its intention was to carefully consider and respect the contribution of other groups into the Anglophone and Francophone culture of Canada. The earliest officials’ discussions of multiculturalism began as a response by Pierre Trudeau to the quiet revolution in Quebec which wanted to become independently sovereign. In 1972 multiculturalism became a ministerial responsibility whereby in 1988 multiculturalism became political policy. Dur-

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Since this time the word multiculturalism as a policy has taken on many shapes and meanings within Canada; province to province, city to city and even person to person. The one common thread or theme is that Canada is the great mosaic because it is composed of various races, cultures, ethnicities and languages. Simply put it is the value of Canadian life. We see evidence of this in our community Hamilton whereby the ideology and policy of multiculturalism is not only reflected in the demographic but in political, trade, and sociological arenas. The Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion demonstrates its commitment daily as they assist major institutions, businesses, service providers, and residents to develop transformative processes that promote equity and create racism-free and inclusive environments. “It’s Your Festival” is one of many festivals within the Hamilton area but is well known as the biggest diverse cultural festival on Canada day. These are just two examples of Hamilton efforts in respecting and embracing diversity and I know that Hamilton has a lot more to offer as it is one of the leading cities in multicultural diversity. In closing Jeresa Hren stated that, “Living in a multi-cultural society takes time. It is a long educational process”. I think that this statement is very true. I believe that multiculturalism is evolving and that we as Canadians must not waver in the understanding of its meaning. Simply put a friend once told me about a concept called KUBA which means, knowledge, understanding, believe and action. What he said by this is that if you have full knowledge of an idea or concept, then the next step is to understand. Once you have an understanding it is up to you to believe in it. Ultimately, your belief will drive you to action. Our nation’s politicians have given each Canadian the opportunity to not only embrace the concept of multiculturalism but also to believe in greatly that it will drive each of us into positive action. Multiculturalism is in Canada. Multiculturalism is our heritage. Multiculturalism is Canada.

■ By Andrea Kelly

June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


On Father's Day I remember him from when I was 2 years old, his traits, his habits, his ways. I cringed when he came instead of Mommy to clean me up when I had finished in the bathroom. He was such a fussy cleaner and made sure every inch of me was squeaky clean before he left. He made me wash my hands not once but three times; three times exactly. The first time to get my hands clean, the second time to kill the germs, and the third time to kill the germs again, since the germs were too wicked to die only once. So that’s why I preferred Mommy to tend to my potty needs. When I got a bit older, he would

   

     


never let me attend birthday parties, and if he did, it was only after finding out the birthday girl’s family history, the number of male members of the family, and what her father did. I wished all my friends had only female siblings because each male sibling raised a red flag and usually resulted in the decline of the birthday invitation. Instead, he would take us to frequent trips to beaches, singing silly songs all the way to the beach while drumming on the steering wheel. I remember that I was scared to sneeze or cough when he was around. A stifled sneeze, and off to the doctor we went. He carried me on his shoulders to make sure my “severe illness” wouldn’t worsen on our way to the doctor, checking my temperature from time to time and singing funny

   Crafts, Games, Sports, Board Games, Experiment Hour: (ages 9-12), Water Games, Swimming, Nature Walks, Field Trips, Music, Dance, Reading Corner, Movies, Talent Show, Special Visitors, Animal Day, Trolley Rides, Drumming Session, Dance Class, Learn How to Juggle and Much More!  

June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

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songs to me. He was so patient with me when I became a teenager. I questioned all his comments and challenged all his opinions. He would just shoot me a disapproving sideglance, and forgive me before I finished my curt sentence. Still, his criteria for me attending parties remained the same, if not tougher. One of his favorite hobbies was to recite poems from famous poets and ask me to explain the meaning of the complicated verses. If he saw me stuck on a word, he would fetch his dictionary and make me read the whole entry and find the root of the word and the prefixes and suffixes and whatnot. By the end of this activity, I not only knew the word inside and out, but the dated usages of that word, and all the potential usages of that word for the years to come. He used to watch science game shows on TV and if a contestant was a girl, his eyes watered and he told me over and over how much he wanted me to grow up to be a well-educated woman. Then, he completed his sentence by saying that marriage can wait but education cannot and what good is a husband after all, he questioned, as he did not consider himself a good-enough husband for my mother. He conceded by, shaking his head sorrowfully, wiping his eyes. I could barely go to him for advice or counsel, as our ideas were usually miles apart. But I could always count on his warm chest and supportive arms to give me as much unconditional love as my heart could desire. He is an elderly man now, and we are half a world apart. Still, his love reaches me across the oceans when he calls me in the middle of the night, assuming it is midday in Canada, and asks me to tell him if everything is fine with me and how the weather is and if I need money and if I am careful enough not to catch a cold. Half-awake, all I wish at those moments is to be able to reach for his skinny wrinkled hands, kiss them, and put them to my eyes. His love for me is unfailing and absolute, and that is what makes him the best father in the world. ■ By Marjan Bateni

World Interfaith Day June 22 Notable Quotes "We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race." -- Kofi Annan "We who have been born Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or any other faith can be very comfortable in each others temple's, mosques, and churches, praying or meditating together to create a spiritual mass of consciousness which can overcome our greed, hatred, and illusions." -- Dr. Ari Ariyaratne Sri Lankan Social Reformer & Spiritual Leader. "My religion is very simple. My religion is

Mother of the Poor, Mother of Nations Mother Teresa ...Continued from page 1 Darjeeling that she received her second call -- "the call within the call". Mother Teresa recalled later, "I was to leave the convent and work with the poor, living among them. It was an order. I knew where I belonged but I did not know how to get there." Mother Teresa started with a school in the slums to teach the children of the poor. She also learned basic medicine and went into the homes of the sick to treat them. In 1949, some of her former pupils joined her. They found men, women, and children dying on the streets who were rejected by local hospitals. The group rented a room so they could care for helpless people otherwise condemned to die in the gutter. “We have not come into the world to be numbered; we have been created for a

kindness." - The Dalai Lama Peace among religions is a precondition for world peace. -- Swami Agnivesh Indian Social Activist 2004 Right Livelihood Award Winner Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love: where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.-- Saint Francis of Assisi “I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear purpose; for great things: to love and be loved.” In 1952 the first Home for the Dying was opened in space made available by the City of Calcutta. Over the years, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity grew from 12 to thousands serving the "poorest of the poor" in 450 centers around the world. Mother Teresa created many homes for the dying and the unwanted from Calcutta to New York to Albania. She was one of the pioneers of establishing homes for AIDS victims. For more than 45 years, Mother Teresa comforted the poor, the dying, and the unwanted around the world. “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, and kindness in your smile.”Words from the Mother. During the years of rapid growth the world began to turn its eyes towards Mother Teresa and the work she had started. Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize

your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” -- Mohandas Gandhi. Love is a fruit in season at all times and within the reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, prayer, sacrifice, and an intense inner life. ~ Mother Teresa ■ interfait

in 1979, honoured her work, while an increasingly interested media began to follow her activities. She received both prizes and attention “for the glory of God and in the name of the poor.” Mother Teresa gained worldwide acclaim with her tireless efforts on behalf of world peace. During the last years of her life, despite increasingly severe health problems, Mother Teresa continued to govern her Society and respond to the needs of the poor and the Church. By 1997, Mother Teresa’s Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world. In March 1997 she blessed her newlyelected successor as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity and then made one more trip abroad. After meeting Pope John Paul II for the last time, she returned to Calcutta and spent her final weeks receiving visitors and instructing her Sisters. On 5 September Mother Teresa’s earthly life came to an end. She was given the honour of a state funeral by the Government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Her tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer

for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike. Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity. Her response to Jesus’ plea, “Come be My light,” made her a Missionary of Charity, a “mother to the poor,” a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God. "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." Her words are the call to humanity and mankind. I am blessed to be born in her loved city of joy “Calcutta”. Being taught in her school “St. Mary”, I personally have learnt a lot about her work and her life. I am obliged to get an opportunity to volunteer in her homes during my living in Calcutta. Now I am away from her loved ones, I try to make my minute contribution by donating money to her homes and by helping her children. I am learning to follow some of her footsteps if not all, and believing in almighty and her as my Inspiration. ■ Simran Sandhu

The Seven Basic Element of A Real Estate Agreement your opinion of the value of the home and the information provided by your realtor, the price you offer may be different from the seller’s asking price. However, for the agreement to be binding, the purchaser and seller have to agree on a number or price. This price is how much the seller is expecting to get at the end of the deal (subject to any adjustments). 3. Chattels and Fixtures – Inclusions and Exclusions According to the Statute of Frauds Act, all land deals in Ontario have to be in writing. So a buyer and seller have to put their intentions down in writing for the transaction to have effect. Unfortunately, contracts can be very confusing. These contracts can use legal words and jargon that are not easy to understand. This is why it is necessary to hire a lawyer to help you purchase or sell a home. I specialize in corporate/commercial and real estate law. I spend a lot of my time explaining the legal documents on a house purchase to my clients. I would like to highlight the 7 basic element to any offer to purchase a home. 1. Basic Details This includes the address and legal description of the property, and full legal names of the seller, purchaser and brokers involved. The legal description is not the municipal address, but a description that the land registry office will recognize. 2. Price Depending on the market conditions,

Chattels are items that are movable and that are not bolted to the home. Examples of chattels include the fridge, stove, drapes, washer and dryers. The assumption is that none of the chattels will be left behind as part of the deal. So if you want to purchase the existing fridge and stove as part of the deal, then you have to put your intention in writing in the offer. Fixtures are items that are bolted or affixed to the home already; examples include chandeliers, and built-in bookshelves. The assumption is that all fixtures are included in the deal, in other words, that the existing fixtures come with the home. If you want to take a fixture with you when you sell a home, you have to specifically mention it in the agreement. 4. Deposit The deposit amount is an amount of money that shows your good faith and will be applied against the purchase price of the home when the sale closes. Deposits are usually no more than 2-5% of the purchase price, but a larger deposit can show the seller that you’re serious. Your

realtor will advise you on the appropriate amount, and you may wish to stipulate that some interest be paid on it in the meantime (although this is very rare). It is important to note that if you are the buyer who provides the deposit amount, and you are unable to close the transaction after you have signed the agreement and waived your conditions, it is likely that you will forfeit your deposit. 5. Terms These include the total price of your offer as well as the financing details. You may arrange your own financing or may ask to assume the seller’s mortgage, especially if it has an attractive interest rate. There will also be an expiration date and time after which the offer is no longer valid. 6. Conditions The vast majority of agreements are subject to conditions. This means that the purchaser is telling the seller that the purchaser is interested in buying the property, but only if a few items can be secured first. The most popular conditions are that the purchaser has to first secure a loan from a bank, or the purchaser will conduct a home inspection, or the purchaser needs to first sell his existing home. Usually, the seller agrees to give the buyer 10 or 14 days to satisfy these conditions before the deal becomes binding. 7. Closing or Possession Date The closing date is the date the title of the property is legally transferred from the seller to the purchaser and the transac-

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tion of funds is finalized. This date is usually between 30 and 90 days after the offer was first signed. Before the transaction is finalized, you will need to meet with your lawyer to sign the purchase or sale documents. A house purchase is probably the single biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. It is important to hire the best professional advisors you can to assist you in the process. If you have any legal questions about this process, or you need help with your sale or purchase, feel free to give me a call 905-528-8411 ext. 336. Hussein Hamdani is a lawyer at SimpsonWigle Law LLP where he practices in the area of corporate/commercial and real estate law. ■ Hussein Hamdani is a lawyer at SimpsonWigle Law LLP where he practices in the area of corporate/commercial and real estate law.

June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


Rheumatoid Arthritis on the Rise in Women

It often starts between 40 and 50 years of age and women are three times more likely to be affected by the condition than men. The study looked at cases of rheumatoid arthritis in Minnesota between 1995 and 2007. They examined the medical records of 1,761 residents in Olmsted County. They found cases of rheumatoid arthritis increased by 2.5% per year from 1995 to 2007, while it fell in men by 0.5%. Study leader Dr Sherine Gabriel said: "We observed a modest increase of rheumatoid arthritis incidence in women during the study period, which followed a sharp decline in incidence during the previous four decades."

One of the most common forms of arthritis is on the rise among women in the US, according to a study.

The condition is a form of arthritis which happens when the body's immune system attacks joints.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say rheumatoid arthritis cases rose 2.5% between 1995 and 2007, after 40 years of decline, but fell among men in the same 12-year period,

This causes pain and swelling, which can lead to problems with mobility.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 350,000 people in the UK.

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive

More and more people with this long term condition are managing to stay working and live very full productive lives

Working Overtime Increases Heart Risk People who regularly put in overtime and work 10 or 11-hour days increase their heart disease risk by nearly two-thirds, research suggests. The findings come from a study of 6,000 British civil servants, published online in the European Heart Journal. After accounting for known heart risk factors such as smoking, doctors found those who worked three to four hours of overtime a day ran a 60% higher risk. Experts said the findings highlighted the importance of work-life balance. Overall, there were 369 cases where

people suffered heart disease that caused death, had a heart attack or developed angina. And the number of hours spent working overtime appeared to be strongly linked in many cases. The researchers said there could be a number of explanations for this. People who spend more time at work have less time to exercise, relax and unwind. They may also be more stressed, anxious, or have depression. A career-minded person will also tend

Previous studies have found a link between cigarette smoking and rheumatoid arthritis.

more people with this long-term condition are managing to stay working and live very full productive lives.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with the development of the condition.

"However more definitely needs to be done to raise public awareness of rheumatoid arthritis and that people raise their risk of developing the disease if they smoke."

Commenting on the work, published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of UK charity the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said the findings were a concern.

June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

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■ Mayo Clinic in

She said: "I would like to assure people living with rheumatoid arthritis that in the last 10 years due in part to the use of biological therapies and tighter control of the disease at an earlier stage that more and

to be a "Type A" personality who is highly driven, aggressive or irritable, they say.

the reasons for the increased risk weren't clear.

"Employees who work overtime may also be likely to work while ill - that is, be reluctant to be absent from work despite illness," they add.

"Until researchers understand how our working lives can affect the risk to our heart health, there are simple ways to look after your heart health at work, like taking a brisk walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or by swapping that biscuit for a piece of fruit."

Lead researcher Mianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, said: "More research is needed before we can be confident that overtime work would cause coronary heart disease." Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: "This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease. "Although the researchers showed a link between working more than three hours overtime every day and heart problems,

Somali FC Soccer Team of Hamilton


(Mayo Clinic in Minnesota)

Dr John Challenor, from the Society of Occupational Medicine, said: "In many ways it confirms what we as occupational health doctors already know - that work/life balance plays a vital role in well-being. "Employers and patients need to be aware of all of the risk factors for coronary heart disease and should consider overtime as one factor that may lead to a number of medical conditions." ■

Eco-Electric Toilet System – An Extra-Ordinary Invention Kajotec Hamilton has come out with an innovation to save households money. This new, affordable product is eco-toilet systems that create electricity through converting energy from all household water waste. The Voice in Diaspora recently spoke with the Managing Director of Kajotec Hamilton, Mr. Joel Kaleu regarding this new invention of his, and he had these to

say. Eco- electricity is designed to a. Generate and save electricity by using the wasted energy of the used water. This innovation works in your home, office or any industry. The product will produce electricity on regular bases, around 1.75 KWH for every 230 litre of the waste water.

b. Preheat our pure water and still save more energy c. Save you money and energy by cleaning the used water and using it again for so many purposes. How the system works: Water recovery for flushing the toilets. In today’s market, many technologies seek to decrease the water utilised for flushing human waste off the toilets. Nonetheless, it is still true that it is clean water that is bought for flushing, which is expensive in certain regions of the globe. Our system aims at recovering waste water such as: waste from the bathroom and kitchen sinks, dishwasher, washer, and toilet and rain water. We recover all this water and with it, flush our waste off our new toilet at will. Simply, by pushing the button on the toilet, it will activate the pump located beside the reservoir and the waste water accumulated in the tank will come up and flush our waste. The amount of water or price will not be a limitation. All that waste will redirect to the sewer to avoid

Crew at Business Incubation with Joel Kaleu

bacterial contamination. Each flush uses around 2 litres. According to Environment Canada, in 2004, the average individual consumed 329 litres of water per day.1 Toilets (31%) and showers (19%) account for approximately half of the total indoor water consumed, that means that, by using this system, we save 102L per capita per day, or $3.31 per month, this equals, for a family of four, $13.22. Calorific energy recovery Generally, households utilize hot water for bathing, to do laundry and the dishes. All these calorific energy is sent to the sewage. In the market, presently, there are

systems for heat recuperation that recover little calorific energy dependent on their designs. The difference with our system is that the waste water recovered is stored for some time, the time when the heat exchange is completed. Thus, more than 25% of the spent energy is recuperated. This exchange allows preheating our household water from 10ºC to 40ºC at the pre-heater exit to the water heater. These 30 degrees represent around 60% of the energy to be used. Normally, water at 40ºC in a tank can be used directly. The thermo conductivity of copper is 390 W.M-1.K-1. Our exterior tank of approximately 103L of clean water, at an initial temperature of 10ºC will need approximately 10kWh to reach 40ºC. Thus, by pre-heating the tank, over $1.50 CD will be saved in Ontario. Electric energy production Generally, electric energy is generated from the kinetic force of water, solar energy or wind energy. To utilise these forces requires a great deal of equipment or great spaces. With climatic changes, every kilowatt-hour counts. To recuperate part of the money spent buying clean water, the water accumulated in our reservoir, will go through a turbine to produce electricity before reaching the sewage. According to estimations, 230L of water accumulated will make the generator turn for 25 minutes and produce approximately 1.9kWh. If this amount is generated every day per family, it will represent around 58 kWh per month. This electric energy is converted and transferred directly to the public electric grid. By this means, each household will contribute to reduce electricity usage and of natural water resources utilization, equivalent to à 3kg eq CO2 per day per capita. ■ Veronica Chris-Ike


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June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


culminate with Canada Day on July 1.

Art Gallery of Hamilton Exhibitions Inspire A Series of Talks in June

The celebrations on the Celebrate Canada calendar have become a tradition, providing Canadians the opportunity to share their pride in their country. • National Aboriginal Day on June 21 • Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24 • Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27

Art Gallery of Hamilton exhibitions inspire a series of talks in June

• Canada Day on July 1

Throughout the month of June, the Art Gallery of Hamilton talk series presents an engaging schedule of talks complementing current exhibitions on view. On Friday, June 11 at 6:30 pm, An Evening with Brendan Fernandes offers a unique opportunity to hear from an exhibiting artist. Fernandes‘ exhibition, until we fearless, (on view until October 3), offers a glimpse into a world of African heritage, appropriated imagery and issues of identity. Please join us for this inspiring talk and look at his intriguing contemporary exhibition. Brendan Fernandes has been long-listed for the 2010 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s preeminent prize for contemporary Canadian art. Tickets are $6 for AGH Members, $10 for Students and Seniors and $12 for Non-Members. On Thursday, June 24 at 6:30 pm, Dr. Silvia Forni, Associate Curator of Anthropology in the ROM’s Department of World Cultures, discusses Objects and Power in the Cameroonian Grassfields, a look at traditional art forms of the Cameroonian grassfields, including some of the masking traditions associated with political and religious powers. The objects included in the current AGH exhibition Dance of Life: The Tanenbaum African Collection (on view until September 6) come from across the African continent, and this talk will offer insight into the works of African art recently donated to the AGH by Joey and Toby Tanenbaum. Tickets are $6 for AGH Members, $10 for Students and Seniors and $12

Take advantage of Celebrate Canada activities to get together in your communities, to discover and appreciate the wealth and diversity of Canadian society, and show your love of Canada and your pride in being Canadian! for Non-Members. To reserve your tickets to all AGH talk events, please call 905.527.6610, ext. 241 or email Tickets may also be purchased online at The Art Gallery of Hamilton is located at 123 King Street West, downtown Hamilton. The AGH gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Hamilton, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. For further information, please visit www.

Celebrate Canada

Celebrate Canada is an eleven-day celebration which takes place from June 21 to July 1. National Aboriginal Day on June 21 kicks off the celebrations. Events continue with Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and


June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4

The opinion of a Superintendent in one of the infested buildings on John Street was totalling different from what the tenants and Interpreter stated were the facts when The Voice in Diaspora contacted her on the issue. The Superintendent denied the allegations of negligence and blamed the tenants for not allowing the bed bugs to be eliminated in their units. The Superintendents acknowledged the fact that her building is 90 percentage infested presently. However, she maintained that they are doing their best to eradicate the problem, by bringing in experts in pest control w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Vendors Wanted for 2 day Homecoming Street Festival Vendors needed for : 175th Anniversary Celebration of Stewart Memorial Church Hamilton, Ontario “Home-coming Art and Craft Show,” August 14th & 15th, 2010. For Application forms Email: or Contact Anne Miller (905) 388-6110

Ontario Place Offers Discounts through Canadian Diabetes Association HDM Community Ontario—Ontario Place is pleased to of- Picnic on July 11 fer a 30% discount to its internationally acclaimed cultural, leisure and entertainment parkland located in Toronto, Ontario, to members, volunteers, staff and partners of the Canadian Diabetes Association. From June 5 to September 6, 2010, visit, click on Corporate OnLine Clients and enter the Canadian Diabetes Association’s username: 52915 and password: fun to receive this great discount.* For every child, adult and senior ticket purchased, the Association will receive a donation of up to $5.

Hamilton Downtown Mosque is organizing their 8th Community Picnic at Hidden Valley Park in Burlington. The Picnic is open for anyone for a $5 ticket which include BBQ and games. There will be bus trips arranged leaving and returning in front of the Mosque. The Mosque is located 96 Wilson Avenue. For more information at Also check for the Summer Quran Course from the website.

So whether you’re living in Ontario or just visiting, come and enjoy Ontario Place.

...Continued from page 1

brought bed bugs to five star hotels where these new immigrants and refugees could not afford?, and what happens to international travelling and movements of goods from one country to another? She concluded that as far as finding an amicable solution to getting rid of bed bugs in these apartments, it is not happening the way it should, that what the landlords and Superintendents are doing is playing the ‘blame game’ instead of making their buildings suitable for quiet enjoyment of the tenants. Same feelings were expressed by some service providers that provide services to these new comers.

Canadian Diabetes Association at

Stewart Memorial Church is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year with a 2 day homecoming festival on August 14 and 15th.

Apartment Buildings & Bed Bugs New Immigrants Cry Out! alarming level, and the city has to intervene”. The interpreter, whose job takes her to various apartments in the city housing new immigrants and refugees, also reported that some of the apartment superintendents are ignoring the tenants request to fix the problem. She went on to state that most of the tenants require interpreters to clearly communicate the message to the tenants, but that the superintendents do not use interpreters to communicate any directions to the tenants. This Interpreter stated that her apartment is not left out of the bed bug menace. What she had heard and seen were instances where superintendents come to tenants doors and hand them written instructions which are written in English; a language the tenants could not read and understand. “What follows is that these tenants would not read the documents, and if the document is taken to their workers, it might take days to arrange for an interpreter since the worker has other pressing assignments scheduled before the notes arrived. Also, by the time the pest control professional shows up on the designated day and see the apartments not properly prepped for pest control, they get upset and blamed the tenants of not following instructions, and would postpone the treatment to couple of months ahead”. The Interpreter accused some landlords and Superintendents of these infested buildings of making stupid statements that ‘new immigrants and refugees brought bed bugs to Canada’. The Interpreter went to ask “Who

*You can also call 416-314-9900 or 1-866-ONE-4-FUN (outside of the GTA) to order tickets*

and involving Public Health Unit in ensuring tenants are compliance to proper pest control preparations. She blamed the Public Health Unit of not ensuring compliance amongst the tenants when they refused their units to be sprayed. The Superintendent went further to report that bed bug infestations in the apartments are of recent phenomena, brought into Hamilton by recent immigrants. She quoted as saying that she had lived in that same unit for many years and her apartment has never been infested by bed bugs until the Immigrants moved in. She lamented on the un-cooperative attitude of most tenants when they are given notices informing them of schedules of pest control. Also, the Superintendent attributed bed bug menace in apartment buildings to the fact that most domestic goods donated to new immigrants like used mattresses and stuffed toys and other household items are always infested with bed bug and not sanitized by donors. Hence, families get mattresses and other furniture that are not properly stored and handled, and once brought into the apartment, contribute to new bed bug infestation the Superintendent stated. The Voice in Diaspora wanted to under-

stand from the Superintendent how she communicates information to the tenants. The Superintendent provided a pamphlet, written in English, which she usually hands out to tenants to read and prepare for pest control. This pamphlet was written in English only, and is not user friendly at all. More so, the Superintendent stated that usually, the tenants are given three days notice to prepare their units for spraying. However, the Superintendent agreed that the three days notice might not be enough to coordinate interpreters to help explain the contents of the documents the tenants were given to help them prepare their units for pest control. However, she provided that sometimes, the tenants do not give the documents to their workers. How she knows about this was not provided. But the fact remains that the Superintendents do not contact, pay for, or connect with service providers to provide interpreters for their tenants that do not speak the English language. They assumed that the tenants are responsible enough to get the help they need to tackle the bed bug problem. The Superintendents and landlords forget that the tenants are joggling many responsibilities made strenuous by their inability to communicate in English. Thus, what is a big problem that could be resolved amicably by all parties involved has turned into a stale ment. And who suffers? The tenants, confused, poor, and have no one to help them! ■ TVID

Story Meeting Held - May 24th 2010 Story Meeting held May 24th 2010. It provided a forum for each respective media outlet to assembly their news and current affairs teams to review and discuss what stories, segments or features they do cover and why. It was an opportunity for people to pitch in their stories to the mainstream media in our community. Those represented were from CHCH, News Cable 14, AM 900 CHML, Hamilton Community News, Hamilton Spectator and CFMU 93.3.

South Asian Month Celebration

SISO New FamilyCentre Gathering

CMA International Panel Event

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June & July 2010 • Vol 3 • Issue 4


Enjoy the best… Summer in Ontario

Mother of the Poor, Mother of Nations

Mother Teresa

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” quote from Mother Teresa

Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP

Ted McMeekin, MPP

Constituency Office 2-952 Concession St. Hamilton, ON L8V 1G2 Tel: 905-388-9734 Fax: 905-388-7862

Constituency Office 299 Dundas St. E. Waterdown, ON L0R 2H0 Tel: 905-690-6552 Fax: 905-690-6562

The city of India named Calcutta (during British rule) now known as Kolkata, is one of the most crowded and populated city of India. Kolkata was blessed the day Lord sends his messenger as “Mother Teresa”, when the city was going through lots of challenges. We can never forget this Legend and her name is embarked with golden letters in the history of mankind. Born on August 26, 1910, Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was the youngest of three children. Agnes, in her teenage became a member of a youth group in her local parish called

Sodality as she became interested in missionaries. At the age of 17, she responded to her first call of a vocation as a Catholic missionary nun. She joined an Irish order, the Sisters of Loretto, a community known for their missionary work in India. When she took her vows as a Sister of Loretto, she chose the name Teresa after Saint Therese of Lixieus. In Calcutta, Sister Teresa taught geography and catechism at St. Mary's High School. In 1944, she became the principal of St. Mary's. Soon Sister Teresa contracted tuberculosis, was unable to continue teaching and was sent to Darjeeling for rest and recuperation. It was on the train ∞ Continued on page 11

Paul Andrea Miller Horwath

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

MPP, Hamilton Centre

20 Hughson St. S., Suite 200 (905) 544-9644

June & July 2010  

The Voice In Diaspor June & July Issue 2010

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