I am fortunate to be doing work in this world that makes an impact in our communities and Call For Hope is no different. I’m pleased and honored to be working with Ahmed, Seidu, and Laurel in helping them get their nonprofit set-up and established. This is a feel good story and the perfect way to round off 2020. So, please grab a cup of something warm and hold their story in your hearts. Call for Hope Ahmed Osaa and Seidu Mohammed arrived in Canada in December 2016. They met Laurel Martin through their volunteer work as they awaited work visas and employment opportunities. The three have recently created “Call for Hope”, a non-profit organization with a goal of helping newcomers from Africa and their growing families cope with hardships they encounter as they immerse themselves in Winnipeg life. The desire to create Call for Hope stems from the challenges Ahmed Osaa and Seidu Mohammed, as well as other newcomers from Ghana and other African countries, experience adapting to life in Winnipeg. From learning about how to dress and drive in the cold Winnipeg climate, to applying for jobs, understanding Canadian rental agreements, workplace policies, banking, and CRA taxes (T4s, GST credits, and CPP), the differences between life in Africa and life in Manitoba are vast. Vegetables, spices, and herbs have different names. Casual greetings, how to address superiors, and expectations in workplaces are different. English pronunciation and enunciation are different. Very often, newcomers to Manitoba from Africa or many other countries find themselves in situations in which no one else looks or talks like them. Call for Hope will strive to address the disorientation caused by culture shock and help newcomers adapt to all kinds of situations they may find themselves in. Some of the first needs they wish to address are helping to:
Find and apply for appropriate pandemic-related resources and benefits during the pandemic.
Provide information about available resources for basic needs, including food security, appropriate clothing, healthy shelter, and basic household finance.
Make personal connections to help lessen the strain related to coping in a new culture, especially in a pandemic situation.
Better understand Indigenous cultures and impact on interpersonal (professional and romantic) relationships.
Help counsel others involved in interpersonal turmoil and conflict and, when necessary, provide information and resources for professional help.
Background Laurel Martin works in Winnipeg’s research industry and has volunteered for many Winnipeg-based nonprofit and charitable organizations. Seidu Mohammed is an internationally well-known speaker and supporter of immigrant, BIPOC, and LGBTQI+ rights. He has volunteered to speak to varied audiences and addressed Canada’s House of Commons twice. His journey to Canada is documented in media and most recently in Joe Meno’s novel “Between Everything and Nothing”. Since arriving in Canada, Ahmed Osaa has shared his story with the Walrus magazine and was asked to speak at the “Walrus Talks Africa’s Next Generation” in Ottawa. Osaa is an essential worker, who has been working tirelessly in Winnipeg’s transportation industry. Both recognize and appreciate the help they had upon arrival in Manitoba and are driven to continue to give back to help others in their new home. I hope you were as inspired as I was from Call For Hope and these amazing individuals. Thank you for being here and may 2021 ease up for all of us.
Winnipeg, we are on Treaty 1 Territory, the ancestral home of the Anishinaabe and Cree people, as well as the birthplace of the Métis Nation. It is also important for us to acknowledge the water we use in Winnipeg comes from Treaty 3 Territory.
For those of us in Victoria we live and work in the traditional territory of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and W̱sáneć Nations.
We do this to acknowledge the people who were here before us, who are still here – and who we share this land with. May we all work towards a strong relationship of trust, respect, and reconciliation.