The Global Gathering Place
Providing Tools for Inclusion in Isolation
Global Gathering Place (GGP) is a settlement organization that provides services to newcomers, immigrants, and refugees. Social programming, settlement support, and English classes are available for all clients, and for government-assisted refugees, GGP also provides healthcare case management through the Providing Access to Healthcare program, as well as life skills education.
In the face of COVID-19, GGP identified the segment of their clientele most vulnerable to the changes in access to services and social supports: Government-assisted refugees (GARs). Due to circumstances of extreme unrest in their home countries, GARs are extremely vulnerable and encounter many barriers to participating in their new communities. They often come to Canada with little or no knowledge of the English language, as well as generally lower levels of education and literacy than other immigrants. Sometimes they have lived in refugee camps for a large portion of their life, and thus may lack familiarity with living in urban settings. Lack of social connections, employment and access to healthcare are among the most prominent outcomes for many of these people.
Social distancing measures that have been put in place have further amplified the challenges that GARs face. GGP’s teachers and instructors are tenacious and have reached out to every single one of their students to try to find ways to have them continue their learning at a distance. However, a disproportionate number of refugees are unable to participate fully because they lack digital resources.
GGP received financial support through the DSA’s Community Reciprocity Fund to provide tablets to these most vulnerable clients.
GPP states, ,”The money was used to purchase tablets that we’re distributing to our most vulnerable refugee clients. These clients often come to Canada with little or no knowledge of the English language, as well as generally lower levels of education and literacy than other immigrants. Social isolation is a common issue in general and is worsened during this period of physical distancing. These tablets will allow refugee clients to connect with others, access essential services, and continue building literacy and English skills. In addition, children in the household will be able to learn online while school is out.”
This is only one of many examples of how GGP continues to make important impacts for many of the vulnerable people in our communities!