Presentation on theme: "Marian J. Rossiter, Sarvenaz Hatami,"— Presentation transcript:
1Fostering the successful settlement of immigrant & refugee youth in Canada Marian J. Rossiter, Sarvenaz Hatami,Daniel Ripley, University of AlbertaPRAIRIE METROPOLIS AND BEYONDNovember 4, 2011
2Acknowledgements Research participants and community partners Katherine RossiterPrairie Metropolis CentreMetropolis ProjectNote this in particular, as I’m going to the UK in April to visit some of the schools that model best practices in refugee education.Alex Taylor Community School – Steve Ramsankar
3Phase 1To understand the risk and protective factors perceived by community stakeholders to influence ‘at-risk’ immigrant and refugee youth who eventually come into conflict with the law.Interviews with 12 stakeholders from social service agencies, community groups, and the criminal justice and mental health systems.Educational difficulties and poverty were considered to have the greatest impact on immigrant youth.
4Phase 2: Research questions What are the supports and challenges that immigrant and refugee youth themselves perceive to have affected their settlement and adaptation in Edmonton?What services or programs have interviewees accessed? To what extent have these been perceived as helpful?
5Participants Inclusion criteria: Between the ages of 14 and 30Immigrated to Canada as adolescentsIn conflict with the law and/or recognized in the community as a youth leader or role model;Proficient in spoken EnglishSemi-structured interviews (60-90 min)Content analysis of transcribed interviews
6ParticipantsParticipants from Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iraq, Liberia, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra LeoneStill recruiting participants from other ethnocultural backgrounds
7Interviews Arrival Employment Family Sources of support Housing Sources of stressSchool AdviceFriends Future hopesSupports programs/servicesStress financial problems, perceived discrimination/racism
8Challenges pre-migration experiences culture (and climate) shock lack of Englishunfamiliar school systemperceived racism, stereotypingfinancial stressNote that one participant was working 45 hours during the week and 24 on the weekend, with very little sleep, to support his full-time studies.
9“A new kind of war”“I came from a war-torn country, and coming to Canada for me was like a new kind of war in terms of learning a new language all on your own, in terms of adjusting to the school curriculum all on your own, in terms of being bullied because you couldn’t speak English or you didn’t have enough money to dress a certain way like everybody else is dressed in school, adjusting to the fact that my parents couldn’t find jobs because they couldn’t speak English and we just didn’t have enough to eat and we didn’t have anything to do.”
10Pre-migration experiences “When I hear noises, like loud boom, I react...I’m pretty sure it’s from the war too, cause my heart starts pounding like boom boom boom…I start running, or I have to take cover, ‘cause it happens back in Africa. ‘Cause in the refugee camp people just start running from some direction and you see someone running and like ‘They’re shooting, they’re coming’”.
11Lack of English“When I arrived it was really hard for me. I didn’t see anything good actually... I was in big shock - I was in big shock... It was cold and I didn’t like it... I used to be at school, very involved. And I came here and I couldn’t talk. People were doing stuff and I felt like humiliated in a sense.”
12School placement“Here in Canada it’s based on your age, you’re put [in a grade] according to your age, but from where we come from it’s based on your knowledge. You write a test and they put you on a grade that’s suitable for you. So I was put back, um, three years behind and I had to repeat Junior High all over again. So that was very frustrating.”
13Perceived racism, discrimination “I was walking in the wrong direction, so this lady, young girl was approaching, she looked like she was 25. She was approaching me and she had her handbag on her shoulder, just walking and approaching, and… I’m like ‘Hi, excuse me’ and she just had her bag LIKE THIS and she started running and then I stopped and like ‘You know I just want to ask you for directions, right?’”
14Financial stressRefugee Transportation Loan – “My [siblings] were working paying for their [refugee] transportation loan and also ours. So that was a bit challenging because they missed out on their education and even on their communication skill.”“To be in school in Canada is very tough….if you want to go to school, it’s not something that everyone can do - it’s really tough. Actually, I work 45 hours in the week [nights], plus 24 on the weekends.”
15Main sources of support friends;teachers;faith;organizations such as Catholic Social Services, Edmonton Mennonite Centre, Multicultural Health Brokers, City of Edmonton, John Humphrey Centre
16Network of friends“The first year, it was just very hard to open up to a lot of different backgrounds of students...I stick to my [ethnocultural] friends ....it was just pretty much our own circle... but I realized after two years or a year and a half that I really need to expand, expand my horizon of friends and because I think that by doing that there’s a lot more opportunities that I can make.”
17ESL programs“I love [name] school because everybody was so welcoming. Especially the department head of ESL, [name]. That lady has helped me from the beginning. That was a good thing, the ESL program.”
18Faith“It [church] did a lot. For us, especially for my family. It’s a big thing in our family and so to find that it was like we had a community. Somewhere to belong.”
19Support from organizations “I was very involved in Catholic Social Services. They have programs, or they used to have before, where every Tuesday and Thursday they will teach about the Canadian culture, so how the police work, you know, rules and stuff, and my [parent] and I will always go there...And they have a summer program where they show you around the city, so my sisters and I were part of that...And they also gave us something like a sponsor family. So we had like a family that helped us out around the city.”
20Recommendations: Orientation For youth and parents:Orientation guidesSchool systemSchool policiesTransportation system
21Recommendations: Orientation Information on Canadian laws (in schools, agencies, ethnocultural communities, as a series of classes or workshops)“When I get out [of jail], I’ll try to fight in order for…new immigrants, that they know that there’s a law, right? Like if you do this, you go to jail for this…Sometimes you don’t know the consequences of your actions.”
22Recommendations: Schools Development of positive relationships with teachers and helping professionalsIntercultural communication skills for all pre-service and in-service teachers and professionalsAll teachers - strategies for improving language learning, promoting literacy skills, and adapting content to accommodate ESL students in mainstream classes
23Recommendations: Schools Programs that encourage youth to continue going to school and becoming successfulMentoringclassroom buddies, peer mentors in all schools;In-school activitiesSports, arts-based, leadership training
24Financial support Information about educational funding: “The school funding, I was not aware of it until recently; nobody was there to explain to me that there’s other ways they help you while you go to school…. what made me drop out of school was more like I feel like I can’t afford to go to school and pay and still survive, so I feel like I had to work.”Elimination of the refugee transportation loan:“We didn’t even have $14 extra to spend…let alone think about the $14,000 that we owed.”
25Out-of-school activities “I think after-school activities are really, really important and I think they could be improved in a way that it could be run by youth leaders from diverse cultures who know the experiences of the students and who know what the struggles are, rather than bringing in someone who has no idea about what these students are facing.”also trained volunteers
26Advice to CanadiansGet involved in refugee- and immigrant-related programsInteract with newcomersGive newcomers good advice or refer them to appropriate servicesTry to understand and accept them; don’t make assumptionsGive more voice to immigrants
27Advice to Canadians“Just remember ... a lot of [immigrants, refugees] come here ...to escape war, because they’ve faced a lot of hardships back where they come from, so they’re not here because they’re on a vacation. They want a better life and Canada can offer that to them. And I think that we should be open to helping them, rather than have negative attitudes and prejudice towards them.”
28Giving back…Church, Air Cadets, CSS homework clubs, Boys and Girls Club, EMCN, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Red Cross, Multicultural Health Brokers, John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, musical events, school Student Public Relations, kids with autism, youth programs, soccer, girls’ empowerment group, advocacy campaigns, victims of genocide, Multicultural Youth Group…“Once I help people, I feel good about myself, like helping people to be successful.”
29Future goals“I want to change lives, make meaningful changes to the world.”“I’d like to help the youth of the community as much as I can… because they are the future.”
30Thank you firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com