The Business Association of Richmond has partnered with MOSAIC in the hopes that the chronic labour shortage faced by many of its 1000+ members can be alleviated with the hiring of Syrian, and other refugee newcomers.
On September 30, the Association organized a Halal-inspired Chinese banquet for the refugee newcomers as a welcoming gesture and job-networking opportunity. Taking place at the Continental Seafood Restaurant in Richmond, the 10-course meal was enjoyed by 500 people, including 250 refugee guests, as well as business owners who are members of the Association.
Sherman Chan, MOSAIC’s Director of Family and Settlement Services, spoke at the event, expressing his appreciation to the association for reaching out to MOSAIC, and providing employment opportunities for refugee clients.
Many politicians were also at the event, and included Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, MLA and Minister of State for Trade George Chow, and MLA and Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston who praised the initiative and said he planned to encourage this type of cooperation and partnership in other BC communities.
The agenda for the evening was jam-packed. In addition to speeches and tributes, there was entertainment provided by Chinese vocalists, and Syrian refugee Suleyman Yusuf provided two moving performances with vocals and a Syrian guitar-style instrument. Saleem Spindari, MOSAIC’s Manager for Refugee Settlement Support Projects, acted as interpreter and co-emcee for the evening’s festivities. Many prizes were drawn for the evening, donated by various association business members and by the Richmond Business Association. Two grand prizes at the end of the evening were 49” television screens, and the association asked that only the refugee newcomers be eligible for the grand prizes. While one prize was given away in a random draw, the organizers played a group game of “rock, paper, scissors” to determine the winner of the second television.
This event will be followed up by a job fair in November for refugees, newcomers, and immigrants that MOSAIC is organizing, in cooperation with Richmond employment partners.