Danish and his family came to Canada in 2015 and have been in Saskatoon for almost five years. They started their settlement journey in Ontario but decided to move west so Danish could pursue a corporate career with the Federated Co-op. He and his wife immediately saw that Saskatoon was a better fit for their family. “A lot of opportunities for the working class, good education if you have kids, it is wonderful,” Danish said.
After only a few years, they already feel that they belong here. He especially appreciates the unexpected diversity of our city: “It’s multicultural, lots of people from different countries, different backgrounds who are meeting, playing, doing a lot of things together.”
He credits our programs for his family’s easy integration into their new community. “Immediately when we came here, my wife got registered with Global Gathering Place. That taught us a lot about how things move in Canada,” Danish said. An early example was a camping trip his family took with training and support from our program staff: “We had a mental barrier to go camping because we never knew how it’s done, a fear of the unknown. So [Global Gathering Place] helped us manage those kinds of difficulties and gave us the opportunity to learn new things that we had never done in our life before.” Those are the kind of experiences that make a new place home.
Today, Danish is the Vice-President of his community association and very involved at his children’s school. Over the years, he and his family have attended dozens of programs at our organization. Most recently, he attended our Citizenship Preparation course and his family received one-on-one support as they worked toward completing their tests.
“If you get involved with Global Gathering Place, or get involved with the community, the benefit is knowledge,” Danish said. “You know how things work, you learn from other people’s perspectives and experiences. I would highly, highly suggest everybody connect with such organizations.”
When Tesfalem and his family arrived in Saskatoon in 2016, he felt great relief. The region of northeast Africa he grew up in is in ongoing conflict and he said he was happy to reach a “peaceful country.” When asked for other differences between life in Canada versus life in his home country, Tesfalem laughed and said, “Everything is different.” He said it has been a transition, but his family is happy here. He has even been able to find a job he enjoys, working at Sherbrooke Community Centre.
Since their arrival in Saskatoon, his family has received one-on-one settlement support from GGP in many areas and more recently, attended our citizenship preparation classes. This past July, he and his wife came to our office to attend their online citizenship ceremony and celebrate with our staff!
Tesfalem is grateful to have our organization to turn to. “Global Gathering is a helpful place for us. When we need something, we go, and they help with every[thing],” Tesfalem said. He wanted to thank Fernanda, Muna, and Tony for their one-on-one support during his family’s journey to citizenship.
Poonam and her husband Manjinder had a more complicated journey to citizenship. They first arrived in Canada in 2013 on work permits but were asked to move back to India two more times before they were granted Permanent Resident status. Through nearly a decade of paperwork and complex immigration requirements, our staff were their constant resources and guides. “All of GGP are my family members. The last ten years I am here,” Poonam reflects.
Over the years, Poonam has attended our English, cooking, and computers classes, as well as countless sessions of one-on-one settlement and employment support. She has even assisted at our English Language Centre as a volunteer.
In March, Poonam and her husband were proud to attend their online citizenship ceremony from our Main Office. Speaking to her on that day, she was full of gratitude: “GGP, this place, I have no words to thank. They always help me.”
She wanted to thank Sana, Leyla, and Tony, who pushed her to strive for better employment. Despite her impressive Indian education, she had been hesitant to move beyond entry-level jobs in Canada. Our staff encouraged her to work toward Canadian certifications and she is now working full-time in a job she enjoys. She still joins us for Coffee and Conversation on Thursdays when she can.