What is Library Settlement Partnership?
The Library Settlement Partnership brings settlement services into library spaces at eleven library systems across Ontario, including Idea Exchange. With support from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), trained settlement workers are placed in the inclusive and resource-rich public library environment by local settlement service providers, such as the YMCA and the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre. The role of settlement workers is to connect newcomers to Canada with what they need to settle in successfully.
At Idea Exchange, Sozda provides those who are new to Canada with an abundance of understanding, experience, and access to settlement services. She also offers a bountiful serving of belonging by easing the path of a difficult transition to a new life. From assisting with applications for SIN cards, Permanent Residency or citizenship to more day-to-day support like finding housing, Sozda can help.
Sozda is no stranger to the challenges of immigration. Forced to flee her homeland of Syria, Sozda, a brother and her father first found refuge in Turkey. Once there, they applied for refugee status with the United Nations Refugee Agency and waited for a more permanent place to call home.
Arriving in Canada as a government-assisted refugee in 2017, Sozda and her family started their Canadian journey at Reception House in Kitchener. They spent a month there, getting the basics of housing and paperwork in place, before moving into their own place and starting the work of rebuilding their lives.
Sadly, another of Sozda's brothers was forced to flee alone at the young age of eighteen. This brother made the harrowing journey across the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dingy and is still a refugee in Germany today. The family went a full nine years without seeing that brother in person, and are still waiting to be reunited. This is not an unusual situation for refugee families.
For those of us lucky enough to be born and raised here in Canada, the lonely, painful, and often dangerous transition to life in a new country is a bit of a mystery. Even when learning a new language is not an issue - like for Sozda, who is fluent in English - it can take years for our new neighbours to feel at home.
Thankful for the natural friendliness of Canadians, and the example of the settlement worker who helped her when she arrived, Sozda decided to pursue a career in settlement services. She is with us today, ready with a smile, information, and guidance to help our new neighbours as they build their lives here in Canada. We are lucky to have her here.
Library Settlement Partnership Week
In October, we celebrate Library Settlement Partnership (LSP) Week, a chance to take a moment to thank those, like Sozda, who make our country stronger by helping our new neighbours to thrive. We invite you to take a moment to thank Sozda with a smile or a kind hello.