Thursday 13 September
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on Sparks Street has a tradition of welcoming refugees to Canada dating back to the seventies, when the first wave of “boat people” from Vietnam arrived in Ottawa. Last Thursday the church continued its practice of welcoming vulnerable newcomers with a workshop on receiving and integrating refugees from Africa. The event was jointly organised by the Cornerstone Housing for Women and the Ottawa Lutheran Refugee Sponsorship Committee. Using presentations, drama skits and small group discussions, the workshop guided the 25 odd participants on strategies for managing the challenges facing these newcomers to Canada. Keynote speaker was Mercy Lawluvi, Executive Director of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, an agency that supports, assists and advocates for immigrant women facing abuse. Among those in attendance were: Gerda Kraft, Chair of the Ottawa Lutheran Refugee Sponsorship Committee; Melanie Somers, Outreach and McPhail House Manager, and Josephine Basudde, Manager, Cornerstone Housing for Women. According to the Immigration, Refugee and Citizens Canada (IRCC), 3886 asylum seekers were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency in 2017. (Source: IRCC) .
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