Immigrant Women’s Centre marks 25 years

Thousands of immigrants make the move to Hamilton every year, and they slowly become part of the community, but it isn’t always a smooth transition.

The Immigrant Women’s Centre has long been part of the reason why many newcomers fall in love with the city and choose to make it their permanent home. This week the centre is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

It’s much like a regular classroom, but students aren’t hoping to make the grade, they’re working towards a much bigger goal, getting settled in a place far away from home.

With simulated work environments in the centre, students exercise their new english skills by calling each other through a computer program.

Afaneen Aljanabr is from Iraq, and says, “it’s learning English at the workplace, so we use the business calls how to talk in diplomatic way according to the culture of canada.”

More than 3,000 immigrants and refugees come through the IWC every single year. The centre helps to get them integrated into the workforce and community, and it says it always sees what it calls a return on human investment.

Ines Rios is the Executive Director at IWC, and says, “people invested themselves…we have to continue doing that. I believe that that is the only way to continue growing the economy.”

The number of clients they serve jumped substantially after SISO, once the city’s largest immigration settlement organization, collapsed.