MSU Enters Partnership in Refugee Assistance Program
December 10, 2015 at 09:50 am
The McMaster Students Union has entered into a partnership with a local non-profit, the Immigrants Working Centre (IWC). The partnership was formed to engage students looking to volunteer with a new program aimed to help Syrian refugee families settle into Hamilton. The main goal of this initiative, dubbed 20 for 20, is to provide financial and communal support for 20 Syrian refugee families in the Hamilton area.
The partnership was made official on December 8, 2015 at a signing ceremony in the MSU Boardroom, broadcast on CHCH. There, MSU President Ehima Osazuwa and IWC Director Ines Rios signed a memorandum of understanding, highlighting the shared goals of the 20 for 20 initiative for both organizations.
“This has been driven by the interests of students,” said Osazuwa, who credits students’ initiative in helping the project move forward. “Playing an active role in the community is a core component of the MSU,” he continued, “and helping out in any way we can is important because it’s the right thing to do.”
MSU President Ehima Osazuwa and IWC Director Ines Rios signing the Memorandum of Understanding
The MSU will focus its efforts on student outreach within the McMaster campus to encourage students to volunteer with the organization, and to raise awareness of the needs of incoming refugees.
Ines Rios, IWC Director, noted that many students who have come forward to help are themselves sons and daughters of refugees. “They can act as cultural brokers,” she explained, “because they understand this broadly.” Rios expressed her excitement for the energy and cultural awareness that students could bring to the initiative, which will greatly assist refugee families as they integrate into life in Canada.
At the beginning of this partnership, 10 students have volunteered. The MSU is seeking 20 more dedicated volunteers, as well as approximately 200 additional volunteers to work on a freelance basis. The program will benefit from student volunteers who can help in all manners of helping newcomers settle in city, inside Citizenship and Immigration Canada's community sponsorship model.
For more information about the 20 for 20 program, or to become a volunteer, visit http://iwchamilton.ca/20-for-20/ or contact: