On May 24, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould visited MOSAIC and learned about some of the organization’s programs and services. Minister Wilson-Raybould, who holds the portfolios of both Attorney General and Minister of Justice, had expressed interest in meeting with refugees and sponsors from her riding of Vancouver Granville. The visit occurred at MOSAIC’s new headquarters, located at Wall Centre-Central Park on Boundary, just north of Kingsway.
On hand to greet the Minister were clients, board members, staff and management. After Executive Director Eyob Naizghi made welcoming remarks, the Minister relayed her pleasure at being the first government official to visit the new MOSAIC headquarters, and noted the diversity she saw in the room, saying that everyone was an immigrant to Canada, with the exception of herself. The Minister expressed pride in her indigenous heritage and shared information about her Kwak’wala roots.
Directors Sherman Chan and Joan Andersen talked about MOSAIC’s work with refugees, and private sponsor groups. A highlight moment during the roundtable was when Maha Qawas, accompanied by her husband Dr. Hassan Moustafa and three children, spoke eloquently about fleeing Syria five years ago with a newborn less than a month old at the time. Maha said she still has nightmares of being stopped at the border after a 300 km journey to reach the relative safety of Iraq.
The Moustafa family arrived in Canada in March 2017, sponsored by the Temple Shalom Synagogue. Rabbi Dan Moskovitz said that they have met a few times with the congregation and have attended special events. He noted a “sea change” amongst his congregation, saying “those who were initially resistant (to the sponsorship) have become our greatest champions,” after learning the story of this family, their journey from Syria to Iraq to Canada, and finally meeting them.
Brenda Karp, also from the Temple Shalom, praised MOSAIC and in particular, Mustafa Ahmed, for his invaluable assistance during the lengthy sponsorship process, saying “he guided and helped us in every sense of the word – without him, we wouldn’t have known how to proceed and our sponsored family might not yet even have been here.”
Director Ninu Kang shared information about the anti-violence and anti-racism work that MOSAIC has long been involved in, saying that settlement organizations are naturally looked upon to offer solutions when discrimination or racism is experienced in communities.
Facilitator Karen George spoke about MOSAIC’s I Belong program for LGBTQ newcomers, and two clients relayed their own positive experiences with the unique program.
Concluding the 90-minute visit, youth workers Preet Sahota and Saed Abu-Haltan showed a presentation about MOSAIC’s work with immigrant youth, which receives funding from the Ministry of Justice.