To respond to the unique needs of refugees and other newcomers, we provide special programming aimed at improving health and learning essential skills for life in Canada.
Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH):
Health is a huge vulnerability faced by many refugee clients. To promote better health outcomes, we created the Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) program to give one-on-one health support to refugees as they settle, adapt, and integrate. Under the PATH umbrella are the following programs:
Refugee Engagement and Community Health (REACH) Clinic: Created in response to an influx of refugees from Syria in 2015, the REACH Clinic at the Saskatoon Community Clinic is a collaborative effort of Global Gathering Place and several Saskatoon organizations. Newly arrived refugees can attend the REACH Clinic at the Saskatoon Community Clinic for initial medical examinations, diagnostic services and prescription needs. To book a REACH appointment, call us at 306-665-0268.
Cultural Health Navigators facilitate effective communication between high-needs Government Assisted Refugees and medical professionals through language interpretation. CHN’s also provide cultural interpretation to help clients receive culturally-appropriate care.
Disabilities Support helps any newcomer client with disabilities access mainstream (not newcomer-specific) services.
In addition to serving clients, PATH works to engage the wider community in sharing responsibility for serving the ever-growing newcomer demographic. Greater collaboration will only be more pressing with our government’s recent commitment to landing and settling more vulnerable refugees.
For refugees, arriving in Canada can be an overwhelming experience, as these newcomers are immediately inundated with change. Everything is different: the language, culture, environment, social expectations, use of technology, and basic skill set necessary for everyday life. The Lifeskills program builds confidence and competencies by teaching important skills such as taking the bus; shopping for, preparing, and safely storing food; using household appliances; maintaining a clean, safe home; budgeting; laundry; and accessing community services.
By respecting and valuing the culture, experience, and wisdom possessed by our clients, we add to existing skill sets and are witness to countless successes.
The challenges to refugees are numerous. For example, many of these newcomers are part of large family groups and this can make housing particularly difficult. Very often, two apartments are needed in order to accommodate all the family members. This means that family finances are stretched to the max; there is never, ever, enough to go around. Lifeskills families also have a hard time coping with the winter. To help, GGP frequently collects donations of coats, toques, gloves, scarves, and warm socks.
In spite of the challenges, Lifeskills families remain very positive—excited to make a new start in Canada, start English classes and make new friends. The excitement that comes with seeing a new technology or learning a new skill such as baking a cake is contagious and, as a result, one of the greatest joys of working in Lifeskills is learning to see the world with fresh eyes.