27 Apr Refugee Integration Program Launched
As part of Budget 2016-2017 the province is creating a fund to assist community and sponsor groups that are helping refugees integrate into Nova Scotia communities.
“The way Nova Scotians are welcoming refugees shows what we can achieve when we work together,” said Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “A diverse Nova Scotia is a strong Nova Scotia.”
The fund provides grants of up to $1,000 to community and sponsoring groups to assist a broad range of initiatives ranging from community picnics and neighbourhood gatherings to cooking classes, art events and conversation groups.
It also supports honorariums for extraordinary volunteers such as interpreters, language instructors and co-ordinators whose efforts have been exceptional.
Minister Diab was joined by Halifax Chebucto MLA, Joachim Stroink, who has been an ardent supporter of efforts to both prepare for and support the integration of refugees in the Province. Stroink coordinated a donation drive to contribute coat hangers to the Refugee Donation Centre as they sorted and prepared thousands of donations in anticipation of the first refugee families arriving in Nova Soctia.
“The least we can do as a province is to offer them the chance at a better life,” said Stroink.
“United Way Halifax is proud to work alongside the many organizations and people dedicated to welcoming Syrian refugees,” said Sarah Napier, president and CEO of United Way Halifax. “A strong sense of belonging is key to a thriving and resilient community. I commend the provincial government for celebrating the compassion and generosity of spirit that unites all of us to not only welcome Syrian refugees to Nova Scotia, but to build friendships and communities of belonging for the long-term.”
The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration has allocated $100,000 for the new fund. The province will provide more than $6 million this year to immigrant service providers and other partners to support immigrant settlement.
“As the refugee effort continues, let’s keep working together,” said Ms. Diab. “We all have a role to play helping newcomers make their lives successful in Nova Scotia.”