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Volume 2 • Issue 6 • w w • T:905.521.2875

U n i t y

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D i v e r s i t y



October & November 09 •

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




Pink Ribbon

Immigrant Females Being SingleA New Trend?

World Diabetes Day Eradication of Poverty November 14 October 17

According to Statistic Canada 2001, Foreign-born women are only slightly more likely than Canadian-born women to head single-parent families and, like Canadianborn women; they are much more likely than their male counterparts to be single parents.

The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness celebrated each year in October. History of the pink ribbon Ribbons have been used to express solidarity on the part of the wearer with the identified cause since the early to late 20th Century. Pink Ribbons (and the color pink) are used to express support for women (and men) who are diagnosed with... ∞ continued on page 5

Most of the female immigrants and refugees came with children and not their male partners. Conflicts and war situations in some developing countries where these immigrants came from resulted in the untimely deaths of some of male counterparts. As a result, being single is forced upon these females by the tragedies. Thus, the women are left to assume the role of family heads and suffer from the stresses that come as a result.

∞ continued on page 6

World Diabetes Day is an official United Nation’s World Health Day. It is celebrated every year on November 14. The date was chosen because it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin in 1921. World Diabetes Day was created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991, ... ∞ continued on page 5

The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. ... ∞ continued on page 5

Newcomer Family Centre

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

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

Programs and Services



Business And Corporate Services

FOR EMPLOYERS AND RECRUITERS Access Global Skills and Talents

Reduce Hiring and Turnover Costs

Improve Staff Morale and Productivity

Mountain Office

Youth Centre

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

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

Mobile Office

Location and route at

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


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

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The Voice Editorial October/November 2009 The Voice in Diaspora will be two years old come November 2009. It’s been an incredible journey with many ups and downs, but all in all, we are still in business. Firstly, we thank the Almighty God for His blessings. We also extend our heart-felt gratitude to our partner SISO, for understanding and supporting our vision. We thank all our advertisers and readers for standing by us each and every edition. The Voice in Diaspora would continue to strive for excellence in bringing quality ethnic news and information to your homes, businesses and offices. We are always looking for ways to grow, and as such welcomes your suggestions, comments, and stories at any time. We would like to be invited to cover your events and share that with our communities free of charge. There is no better way to promote your cause than to use the media. The Voice is looking for volunteers to help with the paper, in areas of community outreach. We have programs and other services to render to people in our community, but require volunteers to make them happen. If you think you need to connect with your community through community outreach, we need to hear from you. We solicit your business and support so that the Voice in Diaspora would continue on this singular journey of making the Voice of our ethnic/cultural population heard clear and loud. Enjoy reading the Voice in Diaspora, and help keep our vision alive. Veronica Chris-Ike Publisher/Editor

Helping All Sectors Invest In Computers New in Canada's Economic Action Plan Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government is helping businesses in all sectors of the economy by providing a temporary 100-percent capital cost allowance (CCA) rate on new computer hardware and systems software acquired after January 27, 2009, and before February 1, 2011. This initiative will cost an estimated $340 million in 2009-2010 and $355 million in 2010-2011. About the Initiative The CCA system determines how much of the cost of a capital asset, such as a new computer, a business may deduct each year for tax purposes. The temporary 100-percent CCA rate on new computer hardware and systems software will en-

courage and assist businesses to increase or accelerate investment in computers. This will help boost Canada's productivity through the faster adoption of newer technology. How It Works The regular CCA rate on computer hardware and systems software is 55 percent, subject to the half-year rule that restricts CCA deductions to one half of the CCA deductions otherwise available in the first year. The new temporary 100-percent CCA rate will allow businesses to fully deduct the cost of eligible computers in just one year because the half-year rule will not apply. New general-purpose electronic data processing equipment and systems soft-

The Voice in Diaspora

ware that are acquired by a taxpayer for use in a business in Canada are eligible. This includes ancillary data processing equipment and systems software. Who Will Benefit Businesses in all sectors of the economy, including the service sector, will benefit from this initiative.

partment of Finance Canada. Initiative Update Regulations to implement this measure have been promulgated. More Info: ■

How to Find Out More For more information, please visit the De-

SISO Unites for A Cause

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

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

Publisher/Editor Veronica Chris-Ike

Art & Creative Design Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

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

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

Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) staff rallied around one of their managers to fight a good fight against cancer. Staff came up with brilliant ideas as to how to show support for Aurelia Tokaci, Manager for Employment, Careers & Business Development department, who is battling cancer. Thus fundraising for cancer awareness and cure in support of the Juravinski Cancer Centre was done September 4, 2009. It was an event that evoked human emotions, gratefulness, and thankfulness from friends, co-workers, and supporters as they witnessed solidarity first hand for Aurelia, who had worked so hard, so passionately for SISO as an organization. Many at the event were proud and at the same time humbled to see the hair shaving activities of Morteza Jafarpour (Executive Director, SISO) and SISO Board Chairman Hussein Hamdani. Eight other staff members volunteered to shave their hair to raise funds for the cause, and these include: Belkis Ozer (Manager Cultural Interpretation & Translation Services); Liban Abdi – Manager, Settlement Counselling Services Marius Carciumaru, Manager, IT; Wadie Alizerig, Employment Dept.; Nabil Rashidi, Manager, The Globe Youth Centre. Staff mem-

bers that volunteered to shave their hairs were responsible for obtaining sponsorship funds from other staff, families and friends. All the proceeds generated went to the Juravinski Cancer Centre. SISO staff also designed “Supporting Aurelia” T-shirts which were sold at the event and money raised would be donated towards cancer research. Even though SISO staff commenced under a tragic situation, they were still able to bring out positive outlook out of the tragedy. With the number of people that turned out and supported the event, Aurelia was extremely overwhelmed, and expressed determination to overcome her future hurdles. Aurelia Tokaci in her brief remarks after the event, thanked the staff, family and friends for their solidarity and support, and grateful for such a well thought out event. The Voice in Diaspora wishes Aurelia continued God’s blessing as she heals and recovers. ■ The Voice in Diaspora

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Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Immigrants In Canada's CIC Funds Pre-Schoolers Housing Market

CIC announces funding for program that helps young immigrants prepare for school.

More recent immigrants becoming homeowners, driving Canada’s housing market. A report by Scotiabank, a major Canadian financial institution, has found that immigrants are a major force driving the Canadian housing market. According to the report, recent immigrants are making a faster transition from renting homes to owning homes than in the past. Homeownership rates among all immigrant groups increased between 2001 and 2006. “The biggest increase was among those living in Canada for less than 10 years,” said Scotiabank senior economist Adrienne Warren.

same period, the report said. This information “may reflect a favourable skills mix, with many employed in high-growth industries such as engineering, construction and skilled trades,” said Warren. This trend is expected to continue as immigration plays a larger part in Canada’s population growth. “Given Canada’s aging population and low fertility rates, longer term household formation and housing needs will be largely determined by immigration,” Warren said. ■

Homeownership rates among immigrants rose alongside a growth in employment rates for newcomers during the


CEP CEP-23 2322

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

Chris Charlton, MP

David Christopherson, MP

Hamilton Mountain

Hamilton Centre

Hamilton East Stoney Creek

Representation that’s working for you Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

The program helps immigrant families become accustomed to Canadian language, life and culture from within their own homes, and helps them develop friendships and learn to access services in their new communities.

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"With these additional investments, HIPPY will be able to expand its reach to more Canadian cities to help newcomer families improve their language and literacy skills," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. HIPPY is celebrating ten years of operation in Canada. The organization currently has eight locations across Canada, and has provided services to more than 2,500 people since it was established in Canada ■

CIC, together with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, is provid-

Canadian Government announces Local Immigration Partnerships for several Ontario municipal regions

The initiative includes the establishment of a local partnership council, to develop models, strategies and projects that will assist newcomers upon their arrival in these Ontario cities.

Thursday, 24 September 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced several Local Immigration Partnership initiatives for Ontario cities and their surrounding areas.

"Improving access to services that make the integration process easier will benefit not only newcomers, but communities across Ontario," said Rick Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada Minister Jason Kenney. ■

The city of Guelph, the regional municipality of Niagara and the York Region will all receive funding from the federal government to develop initiatives that will help newcomers integrate and successfully settle into their new communities.

Punjabi projected to become fourth most widely-spoken language in Canada

Wayne Marston, MP


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced September 10th 2009, that it is providing funding for the Home Instruction for Parents of Pre–School Youngsters program (HIPPY), a program that helps parents prepare their children for school and connect with services in their communities.

ing HIPPY with $3.5-million to expand its family literacy program. CIC said that this funding will allow HIPPY to create opportunities for more than 600 new immigrant families.

Punjabi is set to become the fourth most widely-spoken language in Canada by 2011, after English, French and Chinese, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada Minister Jason Kenney said on Friday September 25th. The 2006 census by the Canadian gov-

The funding is being provided through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, a partnership between the federal and provincial immigration ministries. CIC said that almost $3 million will be allocated to municipalities and service provider organizations across Ontario to establish the partnerships.

ernment revealed that Punjabi is currently the sixth most-widely spoken language in Canada, after English, French, Chinese, German and Italian. However, Punjabi is set to overtake German and Italian over the next four years. Kenney made the announcement on Friday, after opening the Spinning Wheel Film Festival at the Royal Ontario Museum. The festival screened films from around the world and showcased films made by Sikhs or about Sikhs. The Minister also praised the Sikh community in Canada, saying that despite initial struggles, Sikhs in Canada have contributed to and made a place for themselves in Canadian society. ■

glucose or "high blood sugar" is called hyperglycaemia. High levels of glucose in the blood can lead to serious complications.

World Diabetes Day November 17 ...Continued from page 1

At present there is no cure for diabetes.

... in response to concern over the escalating incidence of diabetes around the world. The International Diabetes Federation leads the World Diabetes Day campaign – develops the themes, runs the global website, creates all the materials and drives the global outreach. Through combined research from WHO & IDF, studies have shown that around the world more people are living in large towns and cities, more people are being born and more people are living longer lives. At the same time, people are taking less exercise and eating less healthy types of food in larger quantities than they ever did before. The result is that the total number of people in the world with diabetes is spiraling out of control. What is Diabetes? Diabetes is an illness which occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of insulin in the body. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, a form of sugar. We use glucose as a source of energy to provide power

Pink Ribbon ...Continued from page 1 ... Breast Cancer. In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. The next year, Alexandra Penney, who the editor-in-chief of self, a woman health magazine, was working on the second annual National Breast Cancer

for our muscles and other tissues. Our bodies transport glucose in our blood. In order for our muscles and other tissues to absorb glucose from our blood, we need a hormone called insulin. Without insulin, our bodies cannot obtain the necessary energy from our food. Insulin is made in a large gland behind the stomach called the pancreas. It is released by cells called beta cells. When a person has diabetes, either their pancreas does not produce the insulin they need, or their body cannot use its own insulin effectively. As a result, people with diabetes cannot use enough of the glucose in the food they eat. This leads to the amount of glucose in the blood increasing. This high level of

Awareness Month issue. Evelyn Lauder, who was the senior corporate vice president at Estée Lauder, was invited to be the guest editor of the NBCAM issue edition in 1992. Penney and Lauder came up with the idea to create a ribbon and to enlist the cosmetics giant to distribute it in stores in New York City. Evelyn Lauder then promised to spread the ribbons throughout the entire country, but a color for the ribbon was not yet decided upon. Charlotte Hayley, who battled breast cancer, produced peach color ribbons. She sold them with a card saying, "The National

Eradication of Poverty, October 17 ...Continued from page 1 ... These convictions are inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on this day. Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs and social origins have gathered every year on October 17 th to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world and serve as a gathering place to celebrate the Day. One such replica is located in the garden of United Nations Headquarters and is the site of the annual commemoration organized by the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Through resolution 47/196 adopted on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and invited all States to devote the Day to pre-

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that more than 245 million people around the world have diabetes. This total is expected to rise to 380 million within 20 years. Each year a further 7 million people develop diabetes. Why you should care? The statistics are frightening . . . ]] In 1985, there were an estimated 30 million people with diabetes worldwide. ]] Today there are more than 245 million people with diabetes, over a sevenfold increase in just over 20 years. ]] If nothing is done to slow down the epidemic, within 20 years the number of people with diabetes will reach 380 million. ]] The burden on healthcare systems is overwhelming . . .

Cancer Institute annual budget is 1.8 billion US Dollars, and only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon". Her message spread fast. This made Penny and Evelyn Lauder interested in Hayley's concept. They offered to adapt Hayley's idea by working with her. But Hayley rejected the offer, saying that they were too commercial. After discussing opportunities with Lauder, Hayley and their lawyers, they came up with a "new" color. The new color of the ribbon was pink and became an international symbol for breast

senting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution. The resolution further invites intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to assist States, at their request, in organizing national activities for the observance of the Day, and requests the Secretary-General to take, within existing resources, the measures necessary to ensure the success of the Day's observance by the United Nations. October 17th presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the Day's celebration since its very beginning. The commemoration of October 17 th also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty. ■

]] It is estimated that the costs of diabetes complications account for between 5% and 10% of total healthcare spending in the world. ]] The cost in human suffering and lives is heartbreaking . . . ]] Diabetes is the main cause of partial vision loss and blindness in adults in developed countries. ]] Diabetes accounts for the majority of limb amputations that are not the result of an accident. ]] People with diabetes are much more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. ]] People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing kidney disease. The World Diabetes Day logo The World Diabetes Day logo is the blue circle - the global symbol for diabetes which was developed as part of the Unite for Diabetes awareness campaign. The logo was adopted in 2007 to mark the passage of the United Nations World Diabetes Day Resolution. It is a simple icon that can be easily adapted and widely adopted; the circle symbolizes life and health. The colour blue reflects the sky that unites all nations. The blue circle signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes pandemic. ■ node/122

cancer awareness. Products: Each October, hundreds, if not thousands, of products are emblazoned with pink ribbons, colored pink, or otherwise sold with a promise of a small portion of the total cost being donated to support breast cancer awareness or research. The first breast cancer awareness stamp in the U.S., featuring a pink ribbon, was issued 1996. As it did not sell well, a new stamp with an emphasis on research was designed. The new stamp does not feature the pink ribbon. In Canada, the Royal Canadian

Mint produced a silver commemorative breast cancer coin. 15,000coins were minted during 2006. On one side of the coin, a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is illustrated, while on the other side a pink ribbon has been enameled. Additionally, 30 million 25-cent coins were minted with pink ribbons during 2006 for normal circulation. Designed by the mint's director of engraving, Cosme Saffioti, this colored coin is the second in history to be put into regular circulation. ■ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mission: A community-based network mobilizing all Hamiltonians to create an inclusive and welcoming city

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) supports the Hamiltonian’s call on government to address the housing crisis on a long term sustainable and affordable basis. According to the Ontario government statistics, every 5th renter household in Hamilton is struggling to survive with an annual income of $14,000 which makes the situation worse due to the ripple effect of recession and stagnant income levels of renter households. A comprehensive strategy is required to be launched to address the issues around affordable housing. There is a wide range of housing needs of Hamiltonians such as long waiting lists for social and subsidized housing, a noticeable wide gap between the actual rent paid and shelter allowance, inadequate and aged social houses which require immediate repair and maintenance and less availability of houses for larger families. “Access to housing should not only be affordable economically but also accessible regardless of race, age and social standing”, said a member of HCCI’s Network of Leaders’ Housing Subcommittee. HCCI will support a housing policy which assure that discrimination in housing on the basis of age, race, color, geographic origin, ability or social standing is well addressed and is implemented to its fullest scale. For more information or interviews please contact: Madina Wasuge Phone: 905-667-7502


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Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Immigrant Females Being Single - A New Trend? Some chose to be single to express their independence, most times after leaving behind countries that infringed on the basic human rights of the female gender. Once some females find themselves in a developed country like Canada, where being a female is valued, they trade their marriages/relationships for freedom. It is very common to see many immigrant females of marriage being single and happily raising their children independently. ...Continued from page 1

also have to sacrifice a whole lot for their children. Many government programs aimed at helping families usually require you to be in a particular income bracket before you can access them. Due to my income bracket, I usually do not qualify for these programs. On paper it may seem as if I make a lot of money but taking care of three people on my own at times can be very challenging.”

Some chose to be single to express their independence, most times after leaving behind countries that infringed on the basic human rights of the female gender. Once some females find themselves in a developed country like Canada, where being a female is valued, they trade their marriage/relationships for freedom. It is very common to see many immigrant females of marriage being single and happily raising their children independently. The interplay between an immigrant’s cultural values and that of Canada has resulted in many broken marriages and relationships amongst immigrants families. While the females embrace the newfounded freedom and see themselves as valuable; the husbands vehemently oppose the exercise of such freedoms; the effect is family breakdown and chaos. However, the strength and courage of these immigrant women are amazing and incredible. There are numerous challenges that these immigrant women face daily in their quest to provide for their families. Most had to work two dead-end jobs to support their families. Some times, the burden of managing the home alone and navigating the rigorous pathways through self realization of the Canadian dream have made some of these women develop chronic health issues. Below are stories of two single immigrant women raising their children alone, and the challenges they face each day as a result. Mina Mina is of African descent and has lived in Canada for sixteen years. It was never her choice to be single. She remembered dreaming when she was twelve years of marrying her brother’s best friend who use to tease her and call her “my wife”. Like many young females in her village, the cultural expectations for girls are to marry, remain married, and raise children. She had no problem with that, and did just that until she came to Canada. She did not marry

Blue Is the New Black By MAUREEN DOWD Women are getting unhappier, I told my friend Carl. “How can you tell?” he deadpanned. “It’s always been whine-whine-whine.” Why are we sadder? I persisted. “Because you care,” he replied with a mock sneer. “You have feelings.” Oh, that. In the early ’70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers’ circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold. But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved. Did the feminist revolution end up benefiting men more than women? According to the General Social Sur-


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

Charmaine continued to say, “When starting a new relationship, men feel you ‘need’ them, and that is an awful feeling. Single women are not needy or begging for help, we simply seek a relationship that reciprocates love and respect.”

her brother’s best friend, but got married to someone who was introduced to her family by a family friend. Mina reflected on how good her husband was the early years of their marriage, and how he started changing and being more distant and withdrawn as the years pass by. All these changes happened here in Hamilton, Mina added. Mina has six children by her husband, and he worked hard to provide for the family. However, a crack in their marriage started showing up when the husband lost a lot of money in a business venture with his friend. Mina reported that after that incident, her husband would refuse to eat, and sit hours on end thinking about the loss. Mina’s efforts to console him and help him to get over his sadness was rebuffed by the husband, and that lead him deeply into depression. Mina reported that her husband’s depression was too much that he was scaring the children. Mina had to invite their family members to interfere, and that was when the husband lost his senses. He accused Mina of collaborating with his best friend to ruin him, and further accused her of labelling him a lunatic to destroy his reputation. After that, he moved out and stated staying vey, which has tracked Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier. Before the ’70s, there was a gender gap in America in which women felt greater well-being. Now there’s a gender gap in which men feel better about their lives. As Arianna Huffington points out in a blog post headlined “The Sad, Shocking Truth About How Women Are Feeling”: “It doesn’t matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.” (The one exception is black women in America, who are a bit happier than they were in 1972, but still not as happy as black men.) Marcus Buckingham, a former Gallup researcher who has a new book out called “Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently,” says that men and women w w w.thevoiceindiasp

with a friend, and later moved to a Alberta without informing the family. After four years of this incident, Mina can now share her story without being emotional about it. She feels abandoned and trapped in raising six children alone. Neither she nor her children had heard from her husband for four years now. She still loves the man she ended up marrying, and would take him back any time he returns. Mina stated “Many women choose to be single for various reasons, for me, it was never a choice. Now I am part of the statistics. I find myself single unexpectedly”. Charmaine Charmaine is a young woman of Caribbean decent and a mother of three who has been single for a number of years. Initially, Charmaine left her relationship because of lack of support and common understanding. When asked to share some of the hardships she had and is still encountering as a single female, Charmaine have these to say: “Single mothers either have no time or very little time to spend independently. There is basically limited time to spend alone when you are a single mother. Along with lack of personal time, mothers

Charmaine is a black female, and sees the issue of singlehood amongst the AfroCanadian females as bordering on six key issues. These issues affect the Afro-Canadian community deeply, more especially the male folk, and they are the causes of broken homes. The first issue Charmaine presented was that black males do not feel welcomed in the work place and are discouraged to work. Pressure on the black male derives from both ends (home and work). At work, he often feels that he has to compromise his identity in order to be accepted and to maintain his job, and when he comes home, he gets another pressure from the female on maintaining a job/career because she fears he will loose his current job like the previous ones. Second factor is the high number of unplanned young pregnancies which is becoming a dilemma in the community. The third factor is the fact that Caribbean people have no cultural structure to obey. Charmaine maintained that other factors that cause broken homes and result in singlehood amongst the females are lack of commitment and faithfulness in relationship; trouble among black men; and the need to acknowledge and participate in family counselling. ■ The Voice in Diaspora

passed each other midpoint on the graph of life.

grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

“Though women begin their lives more fulfilled than men, as they age, they gradually become less happy,” Buckingham writes in his new blog on The Huffington Post, pointing out that this darker view covers feelings about marriage, money and material goods. “Men, in contrast, get happier as they get older.”

“Choice is inherently stressful,” Buckingham said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

Buckingham and other experts dispute the idea that the variance in happiness is caused by women carrying a bigger burden of work at home, the “second shift.” They say that while women still do more cooking, cleaning and child-caring, the trend lines are moving toward more parity, which should make them less stressed. When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and

One area of extreme distraction is kids. “Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” said Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor at Wharton who co-wrote a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early. Yet I know very few people who would tell me they wish they hadn’t had kids or who would tell me they feel their kids were the destroyer of their happiness.” The more important things that are crowded into their lives, the less attention women are able to give to each thing. ∞ continued on page 16

Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 3 • October & November 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

In Search of a Home: A Family’s Story

Letter from the Editor

Edelmira Yanguma and her husband, Luis Reyes, were forced to flee their home country of Columbia after guerilla violence threatened their family. The couple found refuge in Canada with their 10 children and settled in Hamilton. While grateful to have escaped the violence that once surrounded them, the family has struggled to find adequate and affordable housing, a problem for many newcomers arriving with large families. Edelmira and Luis told the Women’s Press their story of struggle and hope:

A home provides much more than a roof over our head. Whether we rent or own, our home can be a source of pride and comfort. If can offer us a place of private refuge, a gathering place for friends and family, and the backdrop for lifelong memories. Adequate housing is also a basic human right, one that is entrenched in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, it is a right many in Hamilton do not enjoy. In Hamilton, a staggering 22 per cent of renter households spend more than half their income on shelter, putting them at a high risk of desperate poverty and homelessness. The names of thousands of families in Hamilton are on waiting lists for affordable housing where many are likely to stay for years. Women, who carry a disproportionate amount of responsibilities and financial burden, are often among the most vulnerable. In addition to spending a greater share of their income on rent, women are also far more likely to be victimized by violence, another leading cause of precarious housing for women. But we require more than government investment to achieve this. We also need new ideas. I recently heard an earful at a housing consultation hosted by the Government of Ontario into their Affordable Housing Strategy in Hamilton. Hundreds of passionate and invested Hamilton residents, including many new Canadians and women, packed a Hamilton Mountain church hall to voice their opinions about what Hamilton needs. You can read about some of their ideas inside the pages of this issue of the Women’s Press. A particularly painful problem raised by several women - many of them my colleagues who work closely with the city’s immigrants and refugees – was that of large families who cannot find adequate housing. With no affordable options, many are forced to split up and live in different apartments, separating children from their parents and brothers from their sisters. With only a handful of large subsidized units available in the city, new solutions must be created to address the reality of large families settling in Hamilton. Sincerely, Ines Rios Executive Director Immigrant Women’s Centre

"In Columbia we lived on a farm where we raised animals and grew vegetables. Violence and conflict pushed us off our land. We lost everything. Before the guerrillas, we worked hard and lived well. Now we are starting over again.

cut back our spending and started using food banks. The children’s schools, local organizations and members in the community donated food and clothing. It would have been much harder for us without their support.

When we first arrived in Hamilton in November 2006 we had to live in two separate apartments. It was sometimes crowded but the apartments were clean and comfortable. That first year our housing was paid for by the government under the Refugee Assistance Program. When the program ended, we moved. Again we lived in two apartments and sometimes the neighbours complained about the noise the children made. We decided to search for a house where we could enjoy Edelmira Yanguma and her husband, Luis Reyes gather with six of more privacy and let the children their 10 children on the front steps of their Mountain home. The play freely.

We have since moved into a much smaller but cheaper house on the east Mountain. It was difficult to find this home since most landlords didn’t want to rent to people who are still looking for work and have such a large family. Now nine of us are living in a three bedroom house with one bathroom. We have been on a waiting list for subsidized housing since soon after we arrived but there are not many options for big families like ours.

couple has struggled to find affordable housing big enough for their family but remain hopeful about their future prospects in Canada.

LINC level 3

Discussion: What are some housing solutions for large families with low incomes?

We eventually found a fivebedroom house downtown we thought we could afford. We were shocked when we started receiving our utility bills, which were sometimes more than $500 a month. To pay our bills, we had to

Is Home Ownership Right for You? Steps to Buying Your Own Home.

For many people, owning a home makes good financial sense. Experts agree that purchasing a home is a wise investment that can be enjoyed now and provide a safety net in the future. But the benefits can be much more than financial. Most homeowners say the pride and sense of security that comes with ownership far outweighs the headaches of maintenance and repairs.

Why is owning a home better than renting? • You can gain equity on your investment – real estate values generally increase each year. • Renters may not be able to renovate or upgrade. Home-owners can increase their home’s value.

Buying a home may be within reach for some and unattainable for others. For those who cannot yet afford their own home, there are certain options to consider and steps to take now to help make the dream of owning a home a reality.

• You can usually borrow against your home at a lower interest rate. A home equity line of credit can be a better way to combine debt or pay for your children’s education.

The Women’s Press asked Kristan Gray, a First Ontario Credit Union bank manager in Hamilton to discuss the path to home ownership:

• Rent payments pay a landlord’s mortgage while mortgage payments lead to the eventual ownership of your home.

What options does a person with a lower income have when it comes to buying a home? • The decision to buy a home comes down to your monthly budget. Can you qualify for a mortgage and the associated monthly costs based on your monthly income? More importantly, can you afford all additional obligations (debt payments, car insurance and daycare costs)? • CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) offers a variety of programs such as “Financing for First Time Home Buyers”. This means your down payment can be as little as 5% of the purchase price. • You can also borrow up to $25,000 of your RRSP savings toward the purchase of your first home (to be repaid to your RRSP over a 15-year period).

LINC level 6+

What steps can someone who is not yet ready to buy a home take now to improve their chances in the future? •

Start a forced savings plan: have money deducted from each pay into a savings account or RRSP.

Contribute to RRSPs so that you can use the First Time Home Buyers plan to withdraw up to $25,000 to put toward your down payment, closing costs and other related purchases.

Clean up any items that may be damaging your credit rating (collections, unpaid debts etc…)

Don’t change jobs frequently. Try to find and stick with less casual employment.

Make an appointment to get pre-approved with your credit union or bank to find out what you can afford, what price range you should be looking at and how much you will need for closing costs, taxes and legal fees. If you don’t qualify, your credit union or bank can give you advice to help you get yourself into a position so that you do qualify.

1. What are some benefits of owning a home?

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

We would love to buy our own house one day. For now we continue to study English so we can find work. We support and nurture our children so they can achieve great things. We are so grateful for the opportunities they will have in this country."

2. What are two steps a person can take to improve their chances of owning a home? Discussion: What are the pros and cons of owning a house? Why might renting be better? w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 3 • October & November 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

Women and Power: The Push to Elect More Women

Despite representing more than half of the population, less than 25% of elected representatives in Canada are women. A campaign in Hamilton called “Elect More Women” hopes to change that. One of the campaign’s organizers, Kelly Hayes, explores the lack of women in politics and tells us why we need more female decision-makers. While we pride ourselves on being a country of equality, we have a long way to go when it comes to women and politics. The female population is 52% yet the percentage of municipal, provincial, and federal elected representatives is 21%.* On Hamilton city council, we have only two female representatives, nowhere near the national average! Women Elected to Parliament A Global Snapshot Country

% of Women Elected Representatives











United States










Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union

The obvious question is “why”? Why are so few women being elected to political positions? And why is it difficult to find women who want to run for office? Research shows a variety of answers to these questions. These include: stereotyping and perceptions of women's roles and abilities, few women role models, media imbalances in the treatment of women politicians, family commitments, masculine political environment, failure of political parties to bolster women candidates, finances, and exclusion from informal party networks.*

“We are committed to increasing the number of women on City Council” Polls also show that women and men care about different issues. Generally, women are more interested in child care, health care, and peace. The United Nations says that a critical mass of at least 30% of women is needed before legislatures produce public policy representing women's concerns and before political institu-

tions begin to change the way they do business.* A grassroots organization in Hamilton called Elect More Women (EMW) came together in 2005 to address the above issues. Elect More Women supports women who are interested in either running for a political position or assisting in a political campaign. EMW hosts conferences and workshops and provides resources, education and networking opportunities in a safe, friendly, and empowering environment. Starting this fall, the campaign will focus on Hamilton’s upcoming municipal elections in November 2010. We are committed to increasing the number of women on City Council. This can only happen if we support women coming forward to put their names on the ballot. If you are interested in getting involved with Elect More Women please email *information provided by Equal Voice

Jessica Brennan is the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Chair. In 1997 she also ran for a seat in the Federal Parliament. In an interview with The Women’s Press, Brennan discusses what first drew her to politics and what keeps her going. Q: What first drew you to a life in politics? A: I was always someone who got involved. I was on the school council and president of the school senate in university. Whenever there was an opportunity to assume a leadership role or participate in a board or executive I was always eager to participate. I remember my father’s family in particular sitting around the table discussing issues and debating. Q: What did you feel you could contribute? A: I thought a lot about social issues


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

A: My observation at the time, and I still think it’s there, is that there’s a real machismo to campaigning. The schedule is grueling: waking up at dawn, hitting the doors for most of the day, going home to change and then going to a debate until 10 p.m. For me it was problematic. I had a four year old son. By the second week, I was very lonely for my family. I think there’s an assumption built into the process that assumes you are a free agent: free from any other social and personal obligations outside the campaign. Q: Why do we need to elect more women? A: Those making decisions on our behalf should better reflect us. And obviously, we are not all white, straight males. More diverse representation in politics will result in more socially progressive and humane policies; policies will be based more on their impact on society rather than the cost.

2. What are two reasons so few women are elected to political positions?

Discussion: If you ran for office, what are some of the issues you would campaign for? What issues are important to you?

A Tenant's Right to Repairs

An Interview with School Board Chair Jessica Brennan

Q: Did you face unique challenges as a woman running for office?

1. What percentage of elected representatives in Canada are women?

LINC level 5+

Her Campaign for Change

and would ask myself what my responsibilities are. I used to work for social change through non-profit organizations. But as meaningful as that work was, it dealt more with symptoms than the causes. I felt if I was going to have a real effect, I’d have to do it at the political level. It hasn’t always worked, but that’s how I felt.

Chris Charlton, NDP Member of Parliament representing Hamilton Mountain (left) and the Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women) and Conservative Member of Parliament for the riding of Simcoe-Grey visit the Immigrant Women’s Centre’s Mountain location on June 29th. Both are elected members of Canada’s House of Commons where only 22% of representatives are women.

Legal Q & A With Deepa Dayal

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


What rights does a tenant have regarding maintenance and repairs in his or her rented home in Ontario?


A landlord must keep a rental property in a good state of repair. All things that the landlord provides to the tenant must be kept in working order. This could include electrical, plumbing or heating systems, appliances, carpets in the unit or common areas, walls, roofs, ceilings, windows, doors, locks, lighting, garages and laundry rooms. A landlord must make sure the rental property meets health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. These standards are set out in municipal bylaws or provincial maintenance standards. If a tenant has a maintenance or repair problem, the first thing they need to do is make a written request to the landlord, asking the landlord to fix the problem. If, after being informed, the landlord does not fix the problem within a reasonable time (around a week or two), the

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tenant has several options: She can start by calling the City of Hamilton. The Property Standards department (905-546-2424 ext. 2782) is a good place to begin. A tenant experiencing problems can also contact the province’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (1-888-772-9277). This unit is responsible for the enforcement of the Residential Tenancies Act. If these options do not produce results, a tenant can file an application with the Landlord & Tenant Board. The Board is like a special court that decides disputes between tenants and landlords. When you apply, the Board will schedule a hearing where you and your landlord can present your case to a member of the Board who acts like a judge in this case. A tenant can pick up a T-6 application form at the Landlord and Tenant Board offices

at 119 King Street West, 6th Floor or download the application online at their website at under Forms. Free legal support is also available through the Board’s office or by contacting a local community legal clinic. Remember it is your right to enjoy a well-maintained rental unit. - Deepa Dayal practices law in Hamilton and specializes in the areas of civil, family, immigration, employment and administrative law. She was born and raised in Delhi, India. She can be reached at Deepa Dayal Law Office, Suite No. 107A, 100 Main Street East. Contact her by phone at 905-5237171 or e-mail at

Do you have a legal question for Deepa Dayal? Please send it to womenspress@ The deadline for our next issue is November 1, 2009.

The Women's Press Continues on Page 13 & 14

New Dawn Reception Centre Is Open for Business

Juravinski Cancer Centre Benefits from SISO Losses gaged in friendly rivalry as they upped the ante in order to raise $10,000 in donations. It was great to see employees and friends volunteering to have their heads shaved. Staff members were not alone in their willingness to have their heads shaved. The chair of SISO Board of Directors, Hussein Hamdani (below), also supported the worthy cause when he had his full head of hair shaved.

After much planning, waiting and anticipation, on September16, 2009, the New Dawn Reception Centre became home for refugees and immigrants within the city of Hamilton. The Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) now receives Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) at the New Dawn Reception Centre which allows the RAP department to provide an extremely high quality of specialized services to GAR clients in a welcoming environment. Mrs. Awaisi Sheerin, her husband, and two children arrived at the New Dawn Centre on September 16, 2009 as pioneer clients. The entire department’s members are experiencing changes and practicing different work flows, as well as various working hours. The RAP program has morphed into a twenty-four hour service provider, seven days a week. Our team promises sincere dedication to the organization and will concentrate their effort on making this process successful. I would like to thank and acknowledge RAP team members’ passion. Each and every team member is actively contributing to this common journey, and I would like to share some experiences about the first two nightshifts at the New Dawn. In the past, clients have been greeted by RAP staff regardless of time of arrival. With the New Dawn, the process has become more routine and the program has acquired a stable, secure and permanent location. The night of September 16th was a momentous occasion for SISO, the RAP team as well as our first GAR client group. At approximately nine o’clock in the evening the van from the Airport Airway Transit entered the facility’s parking lot and I was privileged to see the goals and hard work of the entire SISO board as well On August 28th 2009 four secondary schools in Hamilton: Barton Secondary School, Cathedral Catholic Secondary School, Glendale Secondary School, and Sir John A MacDonald Secondary School celebrated another successful year of the Newcomer Orientation Week (NOW). The NOW program is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and is run by Settlement Workers In Schools Hamilton (SWISH) in partnership with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. The program is to create peer leaders to work with newcomer students. The peer leaders attended four days of extensive training facilitated by the Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI).

as SISO staff materialize. It was indeed an emotional occasion, and I could barely conceal my tears. After welcoming the family to both Canada and Hamilton, I shared my experiences with our clients. I told them how lucky they were that night. Mrs. Awaisi Sheerin shared her thoughts and thanked SISO for their effort and the family was thrilled to begin their life in Canada at such a beautiful location. Mrs. Sheerin shared many stories with me. One of the most notable ones was of her son which she gave permission to share. Taher Utman Hajir is twelve years old. He was taken by police while living in a host country before coming to Canada. Mrs. Sheerin rushed to bring her son back home. When she asked what happened. She found that her son was spending too much time at a bookstore. Mrs. Sheerin asked Hajir what he was doing. He answered his mother’s question in the following manner: “I was reading every day two pages of Harry Potter. I knew you couldn’t afford to buy me this book and I can’t have access to libraries. (In some countries refugees are not allowed to have free library cards.) I love this book mother.” It made me happy and proud, and I thought a young boy after experiencing war and being a witness of the tragedies that his family faced, still loved to read. He still tried to get what he wanted. I believe his passion may make his family proud in the future.

SISO’s Executive Director, Morteza Jafarpour lost not only the hair on his head (below), but his much loved mustache in support of cancer awareness and fund raising. Friends and supporters of Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) joined employees on Friday, September 4 for a special fundraising event to support breast cancer research. Staff members en-

A follow-up fundraiser is planned for October 2, when a Dress Down Day will be held in support of breast cancer research. Some staff and friends already have bounties on their heads, so they are feverishly raising donations to save their hair. Please support our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends in their fight against breast cancer. To make a donation, please call 905 667 SISO (7476). ■

New Canadians Kick Start The New School Year

■ By Marufa Shinwari New Dawn Manager

This program adopts a peer based model and is designed to familiarize newcomer students with the first school they will be attending in Canada. It also allows the peer leaders, who were once newcomer students, and have gone through the process of settlement and integration to serve as role models, draw on their experiences, and develop new skills as leaders. This year 39 peer leaders welcomed 90 newcomer students and 30 parents who participated in the NOW program. The activities in this program consist of a scavenger hunt designed to familiarize newcomers with the school, its resources and the key contact persons in the school. The participants also had the opportunity to visit the Hamilton Public Library and the Globe Youth Centre, located at 24

Main St West. Other activities, such as role playing and group discussions allowed the peer leaders and participants to display their superb acting skills, while learning from each other in a fun environment. One of the final activities was a game show that helped the participants learn and review the roles of school personnel and the resources that are available through them. The success of the NOW program lies in the confidence that is instilled in the newcomer students. They will begin the school year already familiar with w w w.thevoiceindiasp

their classrooms, school resources and key staff in their school. However, more importantly they will have also forged friendships with other participants and the peer leaders who will provide ongoing support to them throughout the school years. This allows the newcomer students to begin the school year ready to focus on their academic success and prosper as new Canadians. ■ By Souhaila Dihaini SWISH - NOW 2009

Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Bridging to Business “Mom, you look so pretty with that new hair-do”, said my little daughter, holding her daycare backpack and waiting for me to do the finishing touches of my morning make-up. “Do you have to be always so neat for work?” she asked, looking admiringly at my reflection in the mirror. “Yes honey: neat and a lot more. I will take you to work one of these days so you can see for yourself”, I told her, helping her into her shoes and buttoning up her jacket. Her little plum face beamed with happiness at hearing this.

on a sustainable model to facilitate the transition of skilled immigrants into selfemployment or business administration opportunities, especially in sectors poised for growth in a service-based economy. Furthermore, the credits gained in the Bridging to Business program are transferable when participants want to continue their study in related programs at Mohawk College.

A new program to assist entrepreneurs and business administration professionals. Ever considered running your own business? It may be an easier alternative in challenging economic times. It requires the development of a new set of skills related to business management; if you are serious about it, you may be thrilled to know that there are numerous business opportunities out there. If you are a professional trained in a field such as engineering or accounting you may be able to run your own consulting business. Or you may consider one of the many franchising opportunities available. You may have your own ideas about a new business and a new market niche.

Program modules include: Business Management, Communication and Entrepreneurship Training, Business Marketing and Computer Skills. In addition, the program offers Mentoring Matching with various professionals and support related to office space and access to technology to assist business start-up. The Bridging to Business Program aligns an impressive list of partners, including: Mohawk College, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Scotiabank and Canada Revenue Agency as well as mentors in a variety of fields: accounting, banking, legislation, customs, etc. They are all committed to assist you start your own business or explore opportunities for employment in the field of business administration. For more information contact (905) 385-6192 ext. 3406

Whatever it is, you will be glad to know that SISO’s Business Hub has recently launched a new Bridging to Business Program in partnership with Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. Bridging to Business is a FREE program leveraging the education, skills and abilities of newcomers to assist them transition into employment or self-employment - create new businesses and employment opportunities that contribute to Hamilton’s economic development and growth. The program is based

In fact, there are more good reasons for taking children to work other than just familiarizing them with what parents do. One reason is to introduce young people to the work environment and to give them an understanding of what it entails, especially for newcomer families. What is expected from a customer service representative in other countries, for example, is completely different from his/her job expectations in Canada. Youth need to learn these particulars in order to acquire an understanding of their future work world. Another benefit to taking kids to work is to allow them to see their parents in different roles. By doing so, besides “playing house”, kids will learn to “play nurse,” “play teacher,” or “play office work” and practice their future roles in after school life by doing so. Seeing their role-models performing jobs besides that of parenting, kids will be prepared to expand their horizons and take on various responsibilities in the future. Taking kids to work can also have a significant influence on kids who are approaching school leaving age, as it emphasizes that education goes beyond the classroom and that successful performance at work is a combination of education and work experience. I remember that I believed my education in English was all I needed to be an English teacher. This naive idea changed dramatically when I job-shadowed my father, an experienced middle-school math teacher. This experience revealed aspects of the work that were quite unknown to me before. None of my school books had taught me how to engage a distracted student or how to make one’s own visual aids.


The importance of taking our kids to work is known to schools and workplaces alike, and that is why the national program of Take Our Kids to Work has come into place. Take Our Kids to Work is an annual national program in which grade 9 students are hosted by parents, relatives and friends at workplaces across Canada. Every year, on the first Wednesday in November, parents are asked to take their grade 9 child to work with them, and to assist their child in examining a variety of questions and issues related to the workplace. Take Our Kids to Work program stimulates youth to begin to develop plans for their careers and to be aware of the kinds of preparation required for various careers in the Canadian workplaces. This experience assists students in understanding the importance of staying in school, helps them to gain an appreciation of the working world, and demonstrates the connection between education and the future. I have taken my daughter to work several times, not only on the first Wednesday of November, but also on any other occasion when it was possible to. She loves these occasions and each time, she learns new aspects of workplace expectations, responsibilities, and norms. Now she knows there is a lot more expected of a good employee than just looking “neat”. ■ Marjan Bateni and Maryam Jalalipour



These and more were what I learned while watching my dad performing creatively in class.

PPC- Parents Providing Care

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


9:00 am - 5:00 pm No Frills & Zellers, 499 Mohawk Rd. E.

Karen Language Services

SISO Downtown Office 2:00pm-5:00pm


12:30 pm - 7:00 pm 2 Oriole Crescent


9:00 am - 5:00 pm 40 Grandville & Delawana


9:00 am - 3:00 pm 55 Wendover Dr. (Wendover & Magnolia)

Citizenship Classes

SISO Downtown Office 5:00pm-7:00pm Newcomer Family Centre ** 4:00pm-6:00pm

WEDNESDAYS Pediatric Clinic

SISO Downtown Office 5:00pm-9:00pm


Karen Language Services

SISO Downtown Office 2:00pm-5:00pm


Seniors Workshop

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

October 9

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

Downtown Office 360 James St. N Lower Concourse (905) 667-SISO (7476)

October 23

Immunization Clinic

East End Office

Call: Penny Drover, 905-6673173

SISO Downtown Office 9:00am-12:00pm

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


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

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For more information, please call: (905)

667-SISO (7476) (905) 512-7389 (905) 512-8327

2511 Barton St. E (905) 561-2039

Mountain Office 1030 Upper James St. (905) 385-6192 Youth Centre 24 Main St. W (905) 527-2049

International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

Practice Random Acts of Kindness... ... And Senseless Acts of Beauty! November 13th is dedicated to celebrating International World Kindness Day, a movement that was born on Sept. 20th, 1997 at a conference held in Tokyo, Japan. Canada was one of eight participating countries in this conference. The vision and mission of the World Kindness Movement is reflected in the fundamental importance of simple human kindness as a basic condition of a satisfying and meaningful life. It strives to inspire individuals to build and create a kinder and more compassionate world. The guiding principle of this movement is to foster goodwill and create greater understanding and co-operation between all people.

The kindness and affection from the public have carried me through some of the most difficult periods, and always your love and affection have eased the journey. Diana, Princess of Wales Let’s pause for a moment, and think about ourselves, our community and this great city of Hamilton that

we all call home. More importantly let’s think about how this theme of random kindness relates to us as individuals and to our communities.

"One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.

Leo Buscagila


According to Statistics Canada, in 2007, 84% of Canadians age 15 and over helped each other directly, at least once, during the previous year which would be considered an informal form of volunteering. According to NSGVP (National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating on-line) On-Line 88% of people living in the Census Metropolitan Area of Hamilton made financial donations to charitable and nonprofit organizations. In addition to that, Hamiltonians have contributed an average of 187 volunteer hours annually, compared to the provincial average of 146 hours.

Taking into consideration the changing social fabric of our community and continuing with this spirit of civic participation a few valid questions can be raised. Firstly, how can we support those who are new to our community in particular new immigrants and refugees? Secondly, how can this particular group of our citizens be engaged in active civic participation in our community?

Hamilton is well known as a diverse, inclusive, compassionate, caring and giving community not to say that there is no room for improvement in this area. More that 25% of its citizens were born outside of Canada. Hamilton now is now the 3rd most desirable destination for new Canadians.


Mondays, 3:00pm-4:30pm, St. Charles (1) Mondays, 5:00pm-6:30pm, Central Library (2)


Tuesdays, 5:00pm-6:30pm, Central Library Thursdays, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Terryberry (3)


Mondays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, St. Charles (4) Wednesdays, 3:00pm-4:30pm, CCE (5) Wednesdays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, St. Charles (4) Thursdays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, St. Charles (4) Saturdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, SISO (6)

South Asian

Mondays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Jamesville (7)

French Circle

Tuesdays, 6:00pm-7:30pm, Central Library


Saturdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, Jamesville

St. Charles, 150 East 5th Central Library, 55 York St. Terryberry, 100 Mohawk W. St. Charles, 60 Barlake Ave.

In the city of Hamilton recent domestic violence cases have sadly increased in numbers over the years and unfortunately women are at risk of abuse at virtually any point in their life from childhood to old age. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “All women regardless of age, race, ethnicity, education, cultural identity, socio-economic status, occupation, religion, sexual orientation, may experience abuse”. No one theory can adequately explain the various forms exhibited by abusers towards their victims; however it can be displayed through physical, mental, financial, emotional, even sexual exploitation. The abuser is usually well known to the victim, possibly a family member, friend, co-worker, partner, girlfriend, and boyfriend, current or past spouse. Women who have experienced such victimization may suffer from low self esteem and believe that they have brought the abuse on themselves leaving them with feelings of guilt and fear and sadly a desire to keep the abuse a secret. The need to keep the abuse “SILENT” can be reinforced by fear of the abuser’s constant intimidation and possible death threats to the women or other family members.

As simplistic as it might sound the answer to both these question can be found in the guiding principles of the World Kindness Movement. If each of us practices the simple principle of being kind to everyone we meet, it will help us create an inclusive and more welcoming community. Be the change that you desire. ■ By Arsim Aliu


(1) (2) (3) (4)

--Nicole Kidman

(5) 565 Sanatorium Rd. (6) SISO, Newcomer Family Centre, 2511 Barton St. E. (7) Jamesville, 209 MacNab N.

The best way to prevent and respond to abuse is to collaborate with other people in the community. There is a good chance you know someone personally or professionally given the extent of abuse in Canada. We should all be prepared to deal with the issue and offer support as a community. There are no

single definitive indicators that someone you know is being abused however you may observe physical or emotion and behavioural signs. For example, you may observe unexplained injuries, or chronic health problems. There might be signs of fear, anxiety and depression and substance abuse. An abusive partner can display behavioural signs as well, such as preventing or limiting the woman’s contact with others by trying to control her in other ways. As a concerned friend, colleague or family member please raise the issue with the victim in private. All attempts must ensure the woman and her children remain safe. If you are a female or know someone who has been violated and victimized: It is not your fault and you are not alone. SISO is an organization that provides services to assist you with supports and advice. Qualified counsellors are available who can provide cultural interpretation, and advocate on your behalf in over sixty-nine different languages. SISO can work with you to provide a plan to ensure your well-being and safety for you, your children, and your family. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a day in which we celebrate the lives of sisters referred to as the ‘Inolvidable Mariposas’ who became symbols against victimization of women by the unfortunate loss of their lives in November of 1960. Their story brought about a global awareness of violence against women. As we commemorate The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women help us continue to bring awareness of violence against women by reflecting on how it can be perpetuated in our classrooms, in our workplaces, and in our homes. We can all support the elimination of violence against women so that the women we know and the women to come can live a life not of violence but one of equality. ■ Kim Brown & Andrea Kelly

WOMEN’S GROUP ACTIVITIES October 2009 Arts & Crafts

Tuesdays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, SISO (1)

Crafts & Cooking

Twice per month on Wednesdays, 5:00pm-6:30pm, Immanuel Church (2) For dates call (905) 385-6192

Crafts & Cooking

2nd Thursdays, 5:00pm-7:00pm, Philpott Church (3) 4th Thursdays, 5:00pm-7:00pm, Philpott Church


Mondays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, SISO Thursdays, 4:00pm-6:00pm, SISO Saturdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, SISO Saturdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, Jamesville (4)

To Be A Woman

Monthly, 4:00pm-6:00pm, SISO For date call (905) 561-2039

(1) (2) (3) (4)

SISO, Newcomer Family Centre, 2511 Barton St. E. Immanuel Church, 61 Mohawk W. Philpott Church, 84 York Jamesville, 209 MacNab N.

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Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards for Education and Community Service This group of dedicated teachers was honoured at the 25th Anniversary Gala of Caribbean Potpourri held in Hamilton on Saturday, May 30th, 2009. Only a few highlights of their outstanding career achievements are listed here. Nancy DiGregorio Visionary, educator, innovator, administrator, Nancy DiGregorio’s professional achievements are truly stellar. Currently she is Superintendent of Education with the Hamilton-Wentworth Roman Catholic School Board. Born and raised in Uganda Mrs. Di Gregorio entered the world stage as an elite athlete and Olympian for her country. Recipient of a Canadian International Development Scholarship she attended McGill University. She subsequently taught in Uganda before immigrating to Canada with her husband. Mrs. DiGregorio rose through the ranks of the Hamilton-Wentworth Roman Catholic School Board to the hard earned position of Superintendent. She champions minority rights and equal opportunities within the Catholic School system and the community. Mrs. DiGregorio has volunteered extensively in the community serving on the Boards of the Hamilton Community Foundation, Hamilton / Burlington YWCA, the Good Shepherd Centres, African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri and the Police Advisory Board. Neville Nunes Neville Nunes had a long and distinguished teaching career with the HamiltonWentworth District School Board, culminating in his appointment as an ESL/ESD Consultant from 1985 until his retirement in 1995. An energetic educator, he conducted workshops and made presentations at conferences, contributed educational articles on topical issues for journal publication, piloted several signifi¬cant projects including the Multicultural Education

Policy designed specifically for Ainslie Wood vocational school. The latter was subsequently adopted and imple¬mented into the School System. He was active on the Hamilton Board of Education Black History committee and the Alliance Black educators, and was a tireless guest speaker on anti-racism in schools and in the community. He pioneered the Hamilton Board of Education's Black History Month, was a founder of the Black Youth Achievement Organization; and in 1993, he developed an ESL handbook, which provided guidelines for student placement in the ESL programs. His vision is neatly encapsulated in his motto: “Organize to maximize: educate to liberate”. Dominic Chuck Dominic Chuck, retired educator, active community member, was amongst the first group of teachers recruited from Trinidad and Tobago by the Hamilton District Catholic School Board. Specializing in Educational Counselling and Guidance Counselling, he was an outstanding educator who initiated programmes that sought to bring out the best in his students. He has the distinction of organizing the first Science Fair in the System, and introduced Guidance and Counselling in Special Education. He served with several special programmes and committees. Mr. Dominic Chuck came to Canada in 1965 and retired from teaching in 1993. Retiring from teaching enhanced his service in the community. He was founding member of St. Francis X Youth Basketball Programme. He coached basketball and soccer. Mr. Dominic Chuck co-authored Nurturing The Trillium, which articled The Contributions of African & Caribbean Educators to the Development of HamiltonWentworth Region, a book which every family should have a copy.

Dr. Gary Warner The accomplishments of Dr. Gary Warner have not gone unnoticed at the local, provincial, national and international levels. His quiet dedication, unfailing commitment and fortitude in community service have earned him a place in the most exclusive of circles – The Order of Canada. He was the Hamilton Citizen of the Year in 2004. An academic, educator, author, initiator, Dr. Warner taught at McMaster University where he held positions of leadership including Department Chair, Associate Dean of Humanities, Director of McMaster International and Director of Arts & Science Programme. For over 30 years Dr. Warner has been active in the community at the international, national and local levels. Some may question as to what makes Dr. Gary Warner such a remarkable person? Dr. Warner has a passion for human rights, peace and justice. He has the desire to make this world a better place. He has the desire for change, the willingness to make change, and the ability to make things happen. He has a big heart with the spirit to give. Sylvia Kajiura Sylvia Kajiura had a distinguished career as an educator, serving for 34 years with the Hamilton Roman Catholic School Board until her retirement in 1994. Following her appointment as Principal in 1975, she was seconded to teach the Principal's Course in Toronto. She was instrumental in implementing new initiatives within her Hamilton Board. She was involved, for example, in pioneer¬ing the first formalized effort to address Special Education in 1962 in the form of four segregated Opportunity Classes. In 1985 she piloted one of three system-wide French Immersion Centres at St. Eugene School in incorporating French instruction within an all English setting.

She has made a major contribution by her consistent promotion of inclusiveness and her commitment to enabling traditional¬ly excluded sectors of the population to have a voice in the decision mak¬ing process. She has inspired many with her lived message to not be satisfied with mediocrity, be proud of who you are, believe in your ability to achieve, set high goals and persevere, and move forward with a positive spirit. Amah Harris As an educator, Amah Harris is seen as an innovator. She understands the reality, that a non-threatening environment is the key to opening up a child’s receptivity to new and sometimes complex concepts. Amah is, therefore, constantly looking for new approaches to teaching methodology. Amah has designed public education modules dealing with conflict resolution, catalyst scripts, and a style of theatre called Carnival Style Theatre. In addition, there are experiential workshop modules she initiated, which allow participants first hand experiences of the issues being tackled, and the stand they are willing to take. Her modules have been used to service Boards of Education students and staff, public and private institution staff, community organization members, and NGO’s throughout Ontario. Major Public Education through the catalyst plays and experiential workshops have traveled across Canada and as far South as the Caribbean and South Africa. Amah’s words of guidance: Children are flowers in the Garden of the World. All flowers of tomorrow are seeds of today. Whether or not they grow into beautiful flowers or weeds is largely dependent, not on mere chance, but on teaching, which is the fertilizing element, in this context of growth.

Fun & Games In Gage Park On August 15, 2009 SISO hosted over 2,000 enthusiastic newcomers at their 16th Annual Community Picnic. It was an unforgettable, fun-filled, entertaining and multicultural day for all community members, volunteers and performers. They were treated to a wide variety of performances, songs and dances from different cultures. A fashion show highlighted the event with models exhibiting their multicultural outfits and traditional costumes from different countries. Their


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

races, and much more!

pride was evident as they strutted on the walkway showing their colourful ethnic outfits. This annual event is held at Gage Park, where many activities, such as games, prizes, and competitions for children of all ages provided Hamilton’s newcomer community with a full day of family entertainment. Some participants played

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games while others enjoyed the delicious treats, including popcorn and cotton candy. For the younger set, there was a lineup of activities for youth, such as a soccer tournament, tug of war, arm wrestling, a watermelon eating contest, three-legged

All SISO staff and volunteers showed outstanding leadership in hosting this amazing and enjoyable event. We would like to thank and congratulate all the volunteers, community members and groups for their participation in the shows and performances throughout the day. We hope to see you all at next year’s event when we will celebrate another wonderful, fun-filled day. See you then!!!

Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 3 • October & November 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

Imagine: New housing options for Hamilton Imagine this: • Rooftop gardens that give low-income tenants in subsidized apartment buildings access to fresh, healthy food they grow themselves. • Tenants applying their rent to down payments and mortgages so they can one day own their homes. • Fewer low-income “ghettos” and more “mixed-income” blended neighourhoods. • Affordable homes large enough to accommodate large families. These were among the ideas local residents and housing advocates voiced at a recent housing consultation in Hamilton held September 10. Hundreds packed the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection for the meeting, one of several being held across the province to give Ontario residents a chance to voice their opinion about the provincial government’s “Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.” The strategy is being designed to “provide a framework vision, principles and goals for affordable housing in Ontario over the next 10 years,” according to the provincial government. The message that improvements are needed to the social housing system in Hamilton and the province was delivered loud and clear. A group of local housing-related organizations called the Affordable Housing Flagship presented the government with the following recommendations to help improve the lives of the thousands of women, men and children living in inadequate and unaffordable housing in Hamilton.

rent prices of new affordable housing units are only slightly below market rent and simply not affordable to many low-income households in Hamilton. 3. Increase shelter portions of Ontario Works (social assistance) and Ontario Disability Support Programs. The current amount allocated for housing is forcing people into substandard housing. For example, a single mother with two children receives a shelter portion of $595. However the average rent for a two bedroom apartment is $750. This forces many families to cut back on food and other necessities to afford their rent.

Sources: WHEN (Women’s Housing Equality Network); SPRC (Social Planning and Research Council: Women and Poverty in Hamilton). 1. What is a factor that makes finding affordable housing more difficult for some women? 2. What was one idea raised at the housing consultation in Hamilton?

Women’s Access to Affordable Housing A woman’s experience trying to access affordable housing can be uniquely challenging. There are several reasons for this. Women in Hamilton are poorer than men, representing 60% of the population living in poverty. In different terms, women in Hamilton have a poverty rate of 22% compared with men’s rate of 18%. Women also continue to earn less than men, earning an average of 62 cents for every dollar that men make. They also make up the largest share of single-parent families and generally shoulder a greater share of household responsibility. Finally, women experiencing domestic violence may have fewer options when they are financially dependent on their abuser. All these factors have an impact on their access to housing. Consider the following facts:

1. Encourage opportunities for affordable home ownership in Hamilton. Build on programs such as the City’s HomeStart program and the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity which provide support and down payment assistance to low-income families. Home ownership can help break the cycle of poverty while reducing social housing waiting lists. 2. Improve rent supplement or housing allowance programs to address problems of affordability. The

Discussion: How affordable do you consider housing to be in Hamilton?

LINC level 5+

Family Settlement Services

• In Hamilton, 30% of women report spending more than half of their gross income on rent compared to the overall average of 22%. • Women and children are the fastest growing group of people using shelters in Canada.

Support for your whole family’s settlement needs Downtown: 8 Main Street East Call Jane at 905-529-5209 x236

• The majority of women’s shelter beds are for women who experience violence, the major cause of homelessness for women in Hamilton.

Downtown/ Hamilton North: 182 Rebecca Steet Call Veronica at 905-525-9676 x225

• A lack of affordable housing puts women who use shelters to escape violence at a greater risk of returning to an abusive situation.

Hamilton Mountain: 1119 Fennell Ave East # 236 Call Radenka at 905-387-1100 x223

Housing in Hamilton – By the Numbers 3,817 – number of active applications on the social housing waiting list in 2006. 23 - average number of nights spent at an emergency shelter. 1,644 – number of women who stayed at a Violence Against Women shelter in 2005/6. 22% - Portion of renter households who spend more than 50% of their income on shelter putting them at serious risk of homelessness. - Source: “On Any Given Night, Measuring Homelessness in Hamilton” by the City of Hamilton and the SPRC.

Women are talking about...

Renting versus Buying a home

Valrie Dixon

Lidija Visaticki

Asha Muse

“I would rather rent because I’m new to the area and haven’t decided where I would like to settle. I’m not very knowledgeable about things like property taxes, so I would do some research before making a final decision to buy a home.”

“I would rather buy a house than rent one. If I owned a house I could rent part of it out to supplement my family’s income.”

“For now I would rather rent and save money. Then later I could use that money to buy a bigger house with enough space to rent out to people. I would charge less rent to help people who cannot afford housing.” w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Selma Nangir “We own our own townhouse. Owning a home gives you a sense of freedom that renting doesn't. When you rent an apartment you have to worry about other people and watch yourself. But owning also comes with a lot of responsibilities such as utilities, repairs and taxes.” Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Women in Hamilton, Raising our Voices. Issue 3 • October & November 2009 • Published by the Immigrant Women’s Centre

H1N1 Flu - Protecting Yourself and Your Family By Tara Hall, Hamilton Public Health Services

hand. It’s a different flu season. The World Health Organization • Try to maintain a distance of 6 feet between you and the has declared a global pandemic of H1N1 influenza. This • Keep commonly touched surfaces (door knobs, counter sick person when possible. means that the disease is spreading around the world. This tops, telephones, etc) clean and disinfected. • When holding a small child who is sick, place their chin year, Hamilton Public Health Services is preparing for a dif- • If anyone is sick they should stay at home. on your shoulder so that they don’t cough in your face. ferent flu season. You should prepare too. • Don't share anything that goes in your mouth, such as • Talk to your health care provider about flu vaccines. What is H1N1? eating utensils. How do I care for someone with H1N1? H1N1 symptoms are similar to regular flu, and include fe• Wash your hands before and after you care for a sick per• If the ill person is pregnant, elderly, or has a medical ver, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and son. condition, keep them home until they are feeling better. fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea can be common in chil• Watch family members for symptoms. Plan to have someone stay home with your children for dren. 7 to 10 days if they become sick. How does H1N1 flu virus spread? • If possible, choose only one family member to care for a H1N1 is spread mainly through coughing or sneezing. sick person and make sure they avoid visitors. Sometimes people may become infected by touching people or things that have the virus then touching their New to Canada or know someone who is? Trained in child care? mouth or nose. How can I stop the spread of infection? Communication Skills for Early Childhood Educators is a work-oriented language course offered FREE to • Washing your hands is the best way to fight the flu so newcomers. wash them often with soap and warm water especially This practical and innovative course will help you: after sneezing, coughing and touching communal sur understand childcare workplaces in Ontario faces.  interact with colleagues, parents, children & supervisors • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer.  develop strong interviewing, networking and career-building communication skills. • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not your This course is for you if:  you have training or experience in early childhood education  your English is at an intermediate level (Canadian Benchmarks 6-8)  you are a permanent resident or protected person.

1. What are two symptoms of H1N1? 2. What are three things you can do to help stop the spread of H1N1? Discussion: Do you usually stay home when you feel sick? How do you plan to prepare for flu season this year?

Classes start September 30, 2009. Still time to enroll! For more information contact Patrice Palmer 905-318-4295 mailbox 3805 /

LINC level 3

Time Well Spent: Join us at the Immigrant Women's Centre! Gain New Skills! Learn Computer Basics! Sept. 28 – October 21. Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 - to 11:30 a.m.

Employment Support at IWC Hear What Employers Want! Speaking Series: From the Employer to You...Tips for getting the job. Friday October 2, 10:00 a.m. - noon Next Session: City of Hamilton HR specialist, Amy Komocsi, will discuss the City’s hiring process from the application to the job interview. Free Child minding available. Location: IWC - 8 Main Street East, 1st floor. Free Childminding available. To register contact Pheobe at 905-529-5209 x221.

Make a Great First Impression

Take a basic computer skills and Internet class. Course cost: $25. Free child minding available. Location: IWC Mountain Site – 1119 Fennell Avenue East. To register contact Abir at 905-387-1100 x230.

Get behind the Wheel! Learn to drive and gain independence. September 28 to October 14, Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Preparation Session for the "Face to Face Job Fair" Tuesday October 6, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. (Face to Face Job Fair is Oct. 15) Join the Employment Services team at IWC for a workshop: Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair. Bring your resume for review before the job fair. Free Child minding available. Location: IWC - 8 Main Street East, 1st floor. Special Guest: Motivational Coach, Rosita Hall . To register call Pheobe at 905-529-5209 x221.

Take the G1 in-class driving course to prepare for your written test. Course cost: $25. Free child minding available. Location: 1119 Fennell Avenue East. Contact: Abir at 905-387-1100 ext. 230

New Programs: Control Your Financial Future!

Your Money, Your future: Personal and Family Finanical Management. November 3 to December 10. Tuesdays and Thursdays A six-week workshop on managing your money in Canada. Topics include banking options, applying for loans and establishing good credit. Guest speakers include financial advisors and mortgage experts. Free Childminding available. Location: 8 Main St. East. To resgiter contact Nabila at 905-529-5209 x261.

Help your children succeed! Start of New After-school Homework Club. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 4 to 6 p.m.

Build your confidence! Get the job! Orientation to the Labour Market Workshop November 2 to December 11, Monday to Friday 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. A six-week interactive workshop designed to help job-seeking women discover their skills and define their career goals. Build the confidence you need to find work in Canada. Location: IWC - 8 Main Street East. Free childminding and bus tickets available. To register call Ashley at 905-529-5209 x. 232

Information Sessions at IWC Learn life-saving skills. CPR and First Aid Course September 29 to October 1, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Three-day course presented by the Red Cross. Graduates recieve CPR and First Aid Certificates. Course cost: $90. Free child minding available. Location: 1119 Fennell Ave. E. Time: 9:30 to 2:30 p.m. Contact Ahlam: 905-387-1100

Keep your children safe in the car! Car and seatbelt safety course.

October 1 and 2, 10:00 a.m. to noon Homework support and physical activity for children in grades 1 through 8. In collaboration with Wesley Urban Ministries. Starts in October at IWC's 182 Rebecca St. Two-day course about selecting the best car seat and seatbelt laws in Canada. Location: Site. Contact Sandra at 905-525-9676. 1119 Fennell Ave. E. Free child minding. Contact Ahlam: 905-387-1100


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

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

The Small Church with A Big Vision

Christ Voice of Restoration Ministries

There is a new church on Barton Street East, always busy with people coming in and going out 7 days a week. This is the Christ Voice of Restoration Ministries, deeply committed to providing both material and Spiritual foods to the hundreds of people that walk through its doors daily. The church premise is centrally located in a neighbourhood that has seen much of poverty, crimes, and sex-trade. Starting a church in no other place than Barton Street East is a decision that takes only those chosen and equipped by God to do. The presence of this strict-doctrine, no-nonsense church is a welcome relief to so many people that live and does business in that area of Barton street East. Indeed, the vision to locate this church at its present site has come at the right time, and has helped save many lost souls that had been captivated by many addictions and other social problems. Indeed, it is amazing seeing sinners come into the church to repent and accept Christ as their personal saviour. What amazes first time visitor to this new church is the bee-hive of activities going on at the same time. The church doors are always wide open to countless homeless and less fortunate people in our city accessing the food bank located inside the church. One

is amazed by the incessant telephone prayer sessions by the pastor, and the other activities going on simultaneously. The church building looks deceivably small from the entrance, but opens up as one walks in to a huge hall that serves as the sanctuary, and other smaller rooms for storages and offices. The warmth and openness that exudes from the many volunteers that provide quality times to serve both God and humanity are quite electrifying.

Sister Beverley, Brother Rob, and a host of other volunteers.

The pastor of this new church Pastor Tom, is no ordinary person, and has seen both the high and low aspects of life. Thus, his wealth of experience as a Lawyer in England, and many years working in God’s vineyard, had prepared him to face and tackle the challenges as they present. Being the man of God that he is, Pastor Tom exudes discipline, humility, wisdom, character, and loving attributes. There is no questioning if indeed he is called by God, it is all apparent. There is that aura around him that draws people in need of both spiritual and human connection to him. His ministry started last year September, to provide that much needed light in the part of our city that is plagued with destitution and poverty. Pastor Tom is assisted by Pastor Allen and wife Sandra, Pastor Coleen, (Pastor Tom’s wife),

Pastor Tom explained that his calling is to bring God’s people back to Him because many shepherds have led many people astray. He further explained that many churches have diverted from preaching the sound doctrine of Christ salvation to the people, and are telling the people what they want to hear. Thus, there is need for renewal of people’s minds and restoration of God’s word back to the people, and there is no greater way of doing that than to reach out to the most vulnerable in our society. For Pastor Tom, Christ came with good news and then attended to both the spiritual and humanly needs of the people. Hence, Christians in like manner are

Having met the man of God, and seeing first hand the great tasks and challenges he is faced with, the Voice in Diaspora wanted to hear from Pastor Tom what led him to this vision of opening a church in no other place than Barton Street.

From left: Pastor Allen & His wife Sandra with their granddaughter, Pastor Coleen & Tom

called to preach the good news of salvation and to do good towards others. Thus, when people visit the church to receive items from the food bank, they are also provided with spiritual food. The Voice of Christ Restoration Ministry is the only church that opens 7 days a week and provides food and clothing to the poor. They also provide spiritual counselling to the public and to other pastors

who need spiritual revival. The Voice in Diaspora wishes Pastor Tom and his church continued God’s blessing, and to remain focused on his vision. ■ The Voice In Diaspora

Importance of Active Citizenship

I used to think that the toughest job in the world was to be a Hamilton politician, and the easiest job in the world was to be a Burlington politician. You may ask why I take such extreme polar positions for two neighbouring cities. The reason is simple. A Hamilton politician must face the scrutiny of litany of journalist and media personalities at the Spectator, local community newspapers, couple local radio stations and CHCH - TV. Everything a Hamilton politician does or does not do is scrutinized, analyzed, critiqued and often condemned. Whenever a city councilor makes a bonehead decision, all of us know about it through the various media. The same is not the case in Burlington. In Burlington, the politicians have an easy ride. Burlington is a smaller city, so there are less media alternatives and journal-

ists available. The actions of politicians are rarely reported on. One is more likely to see the picture of the mayor or a city councilor cutting the ribbon for the grand opening of a new coffee shop, than to read a report about council decisions. I have been critical of the Burlington Post, the only local, community paper because most of the paper is filled with advertisements and inserts, and the stories that they do carry are often about kitty cats that were missing from home but returned after some time, or some local high school sports team that made it to the provincial quarter-finals. In other words, they are fluffy, feel-good stories that neither hold elected officials to account or inform the readership on a deeper level about a serious social issue. The fact that Burlington politicians get such an easy ride might be one explanation as to why incumbent politicians rarely lose an election. Once you have been elected in Burlington (does not matter if we are talking about municipal, provincial or federal politics), you are assured a job for life. The only elections that are really contested are when the incumbent retires or resigns. Burlingtonians have had the same city councilors for years with no turnover. When it comes to municipal elections, voter apathy is high, and turnout is low.

However, recently, Jason Misner, a reporter for the Post ran a piece that stated that the city has chosen an American-made brick for its performing arts centre despite an offer from a local manufacturer Hanson Brick. Throw in a reported $121,000 cost savings for using Hanson bricks and another $100,000 in extra materials being offered for free by Hanson, and you have a good old-fashioned political controversy. In a time of Buy Americanism and an economic slowdown, hearing a story that suggests city council preferred a more expensive foreign manufacturer to a local one will ignite the passions of all citizens. By the Post’s own admission, the level of response from Burlingtonians shocked it. The paper was inundated with letters to the editor and opinion pieces. After years and years of writing about cats stuck in trees (which garnered minimal reaction), the paper ventured into some real investigative journalism and was not fully prepared for the results. City councilors were equally unprepared for the scrutiny and they found themselves scrambling to extinguish this controversy.

headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina operating two brickyards in Burlington. The point is not one particular decision’s merits or flaws, but rather an encouragement to all local journalists to ask difficult questions from our elected officials to keep them honest and hold them to task with respect to their decisions. If journalists do their job, the state of our democracy will improve, citizens will be more engaged and no one will think that taking on the honourable role of being an elected representative will be an easy ride. ■ Hussein Hamdani is a partner at SimpsonWigle Law LLP where he practices in the area of corporate/commercial and real estate law. Kristin Ciupa is a lawyer at SimpsonWigle Law LLP, practicing in the areas of corporate/commercial, real estate and wills and estates.

I do not know enough about the particular situation to comment on city council’s decision. And before our jingoistic patriotism consumes us, it should be noted that Hanson Brick is an international company w w w.thevoiceindiasp

Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


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

kenstein Barbies.

Blue Is The New Black ...Continued from page 6 Add this to the fact that women are hormonally more complicated and biologically more vulnerable. Women are much harder on themselves than men. They tend to attach to other people more strongly, beat themselves up more when they lose attachments, take things more personally at work and pop far more antidepressants. “Women have lives that become increasingly empty,” Buckingham said. “They’re doing more and feeling less.” Another daunting thing: America is more youth and looks obsessed than ever, with an array of expensive cosmetic procedures that allow women to be their own Fran-


Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

Men can age in an attractive way while women are expected to replicate — and Restylane — their 20s into their 60s. Buckingham says that greater prosperity has made men happier. And they are also relieved of bearing sole responsibility for their family finances, and no longer have the pressure of having women totally dependent on them. Men also tend to fare better romantically as time wears on. There are more widows than widowers, and men have an easier time getting younger mates. Stevenson looks on the bright side of the dark trend, suggesting that happiness is beside the point. We’re happy to have our newfound abundance of choices, she said, even if those choices end up making us unhappier. A paradox, indeed. Published: September 19, 2009 in The New York Times

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). In 2009: • An estimated 22,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,400 will die of it. • An estimated 180 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 50 will die of it. • On average, 437 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week. • On average, 104 Canadian women will die of breast cancer every week. Probability of developing or dying from breast cancer One in 9 women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and one in 28 will die of it. Trends in breast cancer Breast cancer death rates have declined in every age group since at least the mid 1990s. In women aged 20-39, breast cancer incidence and death rates have declined since 1969. ■ The Voice in Diaspora

Community Achiever

Ahmed Fahim Atta Many good things come from Afghanistan; one is Ahmed Fahim Atta, an artist with exceptional talent. Atta has brought to Hamilton, world class arrays of paint-

Fahim Atta has shown a passion towards creating real-life images and bringing the pulse of the subject to the viewer. Even in Fahim’s still-life works, he conveys vivid artistic emotions through the subjects. It is evident that Fahim’s art works attract and captivate the emotions of the viewers. Fahim Atta had done so many exhibitions such as in Calgary Catholic Immigration Society exhibition in 1992, in Niagara Falls in 1998 amongst others. The positive response Fahim had received from patrons all these years had really empowered and motivated him to open his own art gallery. In 1998, Fahim watched his dreams come to reality as his first art gallery opened in the city of Guelph, ON.

ings, drawings and sculptures. Ahmed Fahim Atta was born in Afghanistan, and it was there that he developed his talent, and worked as an artist. To nurture his talent, Fahim Atta attended the University of Moscow where he obtained his Masters degree in Realism in 1986. Since then, Atta’s career has taken off as a world-wide freelance artist.

passion Fahim has managed to emerge again with a new art gallery titled, “Top Art Gallery”, located in Brantford, ON with a grand opening on November 1st, 2009. Fahim is a wizard of bringing thought and imagination into real life, a modern day alchemist by artisan standards. This issue of the Voice in Diaspora is pleased to announce that artist Ahmed Fahim Atta is our Community Achiever. Fahim has proven to be a positive inspiration to everyone he encounters. When The Voice asked Fahim the foundation and meaning behind his work, he replied, “Between cottage life, snowy mountains, wolves, or loving family members, the freedom of nature is the foundation of my work. Each detail within a portrait I paint is done with as much precision of the passion I have for Canada as it has allowed me the natural feeling of freedom.”

During his 25 years of experience as an artist, Fahim has seen the art industry pass through some unpredictable times. He has witnessed the art go from being highly respected and appreciated by society, to being ignored. This neglect is more manifest in his home country Afghanistan. However, Fahim is more consoled by the reception and love of arts by the Canadian society. As many of us have experienced the negative side of the “Recession” so has the art and craft industry too. Due to the economic downturn Fahim was forced to close his art gallery approximately a year ago. But with focus, determination and

For further enquires on Ahmed Fahim Atta’s art work please contact him at 905304-6446. His new art gallery will be located at Lynden Park Mall, Brantford, ON, Canada ■ The Voice in Diaspora

My Experiences In A Toronto Shelter Welcome to Canada

My first 5 months in Canada was a bitter sweet experience. Here was one who was over-joyed to finally over came the tumultuous and un-predicated life in my native land, but then find myself holed up with my five children in a one room shelter for five agonizing months. What an irony! What made it more painful for me was the fact that the room was not cleaned by the proprietors prior to my taking possession. The bottom of our feet and clothes were covered with black coloured dust. The room had the stench of tobacco and cheap alcohol, and we could not open the window for long hours because of the chilly air coming in from there. No matter how much we cleaned, the dust was there with the stench. The hotel proprietors refused to move us to anther room, telling me they have no more big room for the size of my family. .I panicked for days fearing being exposed to the worse contagious diseases imaginable. When months later my two children who were healthy on arrival to Canada were diagnosed with asthma, I knew exactly how they contacted that. I knew my right, but could not enforce it because I was afraid of being sent back home. This is the bitter aspect of my new comer experience in Canada.

However, it did not take long for the distaste of my shelter accommodation to turn into a safe ‘haven’ for me and the children. Long after that, we started receiving attentions and serious gifts from Good-natured Canadians who took pity on our plight. It did not take long for, my one room shelter accommodation to be turned into a store room that held every kind of un-imaginable donated toys, clothes, and food stuffs. We hardly have room to move around freely any more. As for me in my double-sized pregnant state, I always carefully squeeze past the junks and clusters inside that room to avoid bumping my stomach against objects. It was a night mare. I did not know how to say ‘NO’ to those giving me the donations in fear that I might hurt their feelings. Looking back now to those days, I wonder how my children and I might have appeared to the general public to warrant their huge out-pouring of pity or sympathy for us. We must have looked ‘needy’ and ‘poor’. However, I always quickly console myself and remove any embarrassing and negative thoughts from my mind, and focused on appreciating the favour I receive from those kind people. These days, I do not move people to pity, and rather than receive, I am called upon to give. Surely,

I have changed a lot from those early years of deprivation in this country. Anyways, I still remember the Christmas donations my family received from the Toronto Fire Fighters Association, and the Toronto Police Department. It was mind shattering the amount and quality of toys they donated to my children. I was astound and was never prepared with any hint about all the good fortunes that was preparing to come our way. The churches were not left out in this quest to cater for new comers especially those residing in the shelters. They organized weekly feeding nights and gave away free groceries and food to all those in the shelters. It was while attending some of these feeding nights that I came to experience the culinary wonders of Canadian foods, especially the baked foods. I instantly feel in love with the pies and stayed in that love circle with it till I changed my life style after I move to Hamilton. My sustenance in those early years in Canada was prayer. I still remember the lengthy prayers of thanksgiving I recite every morning for Canada and all those that helped me. I was overwhelmed with emotion on how total strangers could help and care about other peo-

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ple’s welfare, and I honestly was convinced that every person in Canada will go to Heaven. I also believed that I had finally reached my promised land, the biblical land flowing with milk and honey. This thought was carefully shared with my people whenever I managed to talk with them, and they were genuinely happy for my good fortune. It is amazing getting paid weekly when I was not working. Those I asked about why I get money weekly at the Shelter office informed me that I was on Welfare; that people like me on Welfare get paid by the government while they try to get settled into the Canadian society. I was flabbergasted and thought how lucky I get each waking day. Pondering over all the events that happened when I initially arrived in Toronto as a new comer, I honestly thought that it will be insane for any body to leave the boundaries of Canada to travel to any other country. I have heard cruel stories of how foreigners were treated in other western countries, and it was really bad. However, there was I in Toronto, though living in a shelter, but living my life to the fullest. Thank you Canada, I wish to repay your kindness one day at a time. Once again, Thanks very much CANADA! ■ Veronica Chris-Ike

Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


It is inevitable that some workers get laid off their jobs due to one reason or another. However, it is disheartening when your company tricks you out of your job by getting you to train your competitor without you knowing you are being used. This ugly situation happens all the time, and it is as ugly as the person pulling off this trick.

Recently, a very distraught lady visited the Voice in Diaspora to narrate how she was tricked by her employer, and finally being fired after she finished training her replacement. She wanted her story shared with our readers so as to warn others of this kind of rip-off by some company executives.

4. You are the main discussion of other employees.

Her name is Derika, and she came from Jamaica eight months ago as a skilled trade worker in the hospitality industry. Derika had a Masters degree in Hotel management, and this had helped her land many high profile jobs in Jamaica before coming here as a landed immigrant. Initially, getting a job was very difficult for Derika when she arrived to Canada. She applied to almost every job she saw advertised in the dailies, but no company phoned her for interview. When regrets set in as to why she left a good-paying job in Jamaica to come over here and be a burden to her family, she received a phone call from one of the earliest hotels she had dropped off her resume. The interview was a success, and Derika was specifically hired to help resurrect a dying two-star hotel from the cold hands of recession.

5. You are given bad performance evaluation. (By: Flexo from Consumerism Commentary)

Un-known to Derika, her position was a ploy to get an experienced person transform the company to a profit-making margin be-

There are people who have intuition of what is being planned against them in their company, and thus either quit or wait to get fired. However, majority of the people carry on in ignorance even when there are obvious signs that termination is near the corner. Research mentioned five signs that one is about to lose one’s job, and some of the signs includes: 1. You are given fewer responsibilities and asked to train a new staff. 2. You are being excluded from types of meetings which you were usually part of. 3. You are being blamed for every small mistake.

Be Careful Who You Train on Your Job It Could Cost You Your Position! fore it reverts back to the incompetent manager whose family had the biggest share capital in the hotel. The hiring committee concealed the real purpose of her offer of employment. They lied to her that the previous manager had accepted another position elsewhere when the truth was that she was being trained by Derika. Simply, Derika was fooled. Thanking her luck to landing such a prestigious job in Canada with no Canadian experience, Derika employed all her energy into turning the business of the hotel back to profit. She came in to work even on her days off and hardly take time off for lunch. Derika was totally committed to moving the hotel above the next level and finally succeeded three months after she got hired to take the hotel from two stars to a four stars hotel. However, while her pre-occupation with the hotel made her oblivious of the schemes and warning signs that her services would no longer be needed as soon as the share holders realize a profit in their investment, Derika went about her new job as keenly as possible. She got the taste of the conspiracy

With artisans from around the globe The Sabawoon offers some of the most unique and authentic hand made jewellery, crafts, paintings, pottery, textiles and clothing. Displaying such a wide variety of art and talent from the Hamilton area only reflects the diverse population of the city and shows that there is a market and need for more multicultural events such as The Sabawoon. On Aug. 29/09 The Voice in Diaspora captured the last Saturday of The Sabawoon’s outdoor fair. The final day was showered with smiles from the international vendors and full of socializing and networking amongst the patrons and artisans. Of the highlights that day were live performancOct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6

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This injustice could happen to any one. I could relate to this some how. However, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. ■ Nica Brown

The Sabawoon Hamilton’s Outdoor Art Fair

Every Saturday afternoon internationally known artisans gather at Hamilton’s prestigious Pier 8 Waterfront to take part in the city’s only summer outdoor fair called, The Sabawoon. The Sabawoon outdoor fair provides a platform open to all ethnic/diverse artists who wish to display and sell their hand made merchandise or perform their talent to a live audience.


when one of her colleagues blatantly accused her of meddling in every ones situation. The co-worker was rude towards her and stood short of engaging in physical altercation. The hostile stares of the other colleagues and their daring attitude towards her after the incident really shook her and brought her back to several possibilities as to why every one hated her so much. The management was quick to lay the blame of the misunderstanding with the other junior staff on Derika alone. She felt humiliated, used, robbed, abandoned, and stupid! Three days after the incidence, Derika received a letter mailed to her address, informing her of her termination from her position. She was not given any opportunity to defend her self, and she was fired for no tangible reason. To add salt to the injury, Derika learnt a few days after that her position was given to the junior staff she trained. Since then, Derika has been in-consolable with grieve.

es from the Aboriginal community and a singing set from ICAA member Lance Darren Cole. Aside from being a small and intimate outdoor fair, The Sabawoon shows to be the seedling of a flower yet to bloom. In other words, The Sabawoon still has a lot of room to expand. As more immigrants decide to make Hamilton their home, programs such as The Sabawoon will also grow and prosper. New comers to Hamilton continually search for merchandise, communities and social gatherings that make them feel welcomed and at ‘home’. Thanks to the ICAA’s Sabawoon outdoor fair Hamilton now has that platform to make New Comers feel welcomed. The Sabawoon outdoor fair is strictly a summer event held from June to August each year. For more information on ICAA or The Sabawoon please visit ■ The Voice in Diaspora


Shaving for Cancer

The Sabawoon

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Oct. & Nov. 09 • Vol 2 • Issue 6


Paul Andrea Miller Horwath

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U n i t y I n D i v e r s i t y The pink ribbon is an internation- al symbol of breast cancer aware- ness celebrated each year in Octo- ber....