Kiwassa Neighbourhood House is located in East Vancouver. The organization is run by the community and all activities are open to everyone without barriers. Earlier this year they became a Sanctuary Site, meaning that people have Access Without Fear.
Kiwassa is a multi-serving organization that addresses complex issues and has programs for all ages, backgrounds and needs.
Q: What is your organization’s purpose?
To cultivate opportunities with people and partners to build a socially just, resilient, and connected community. and connected community.
Q: What resources or services does your organization provide specifically for refugee claimants?
At Kiwassa there are no resources specifically for claimants, because we do not believe in putting people in silos. Instead all programs are available to all people. These programs are diverse, ranging from childcare, youth activities, domestic violence programs, parent groups and many seniors’ activities. They have computer labs, rooms for rent, and weekly food banks.
These programs, and other services, are available in a large range of languages, with people in staff speaking Chinese, Spanish, Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Tagalog, Vietnamese and French. The emphasis on first language services, cultural awareness, and diverse programs means that everyone is welcome.
What is an example of a success you’ve had through your work with refugee claimants?
A single mom with issues of domestic violence and problems accessing basic needs came to Kiwassa. It became apparent that she also had problems with accessing sufficient food, isolation and help filling out the various forms to make a refugee claim. Her immediate need was stability. She became a childminder at Kiwassa, which helped her in a variety of ways.
The work and the community helped her find housing and solutions to her legal issues. The support she received from Kiwassa led her to begin a support group for other women, training sessions to help empower the community of women that are part of Kiwassa NH, as well as the greater area.
Through these community connections she found housing in Surrey near another member of her own community, helping with the isolation and childcare. She stills comes to Kiwassa from Surrey because of the support she received and a desire to give back to others.
Is there anything else you’d like us to highlight?
Kiwassa also works within the area of domestic violence prevention, providing programs and training to both men and women to avoid and recognize the issue.
Kiwassa is also the first organization in the province to implement affordable daycare.
To learn more about Kiwassa Neighborhood House visit: https://www.kiwassa.ca/programs-services/