Episode 7: Newcomers and Enough for All

26 January 2022

In this episode, Jaclyn Silbernagel sits down with Celestina Akinkunmi with the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) to explore settlement and integration services in Calgary.

Published 26 January 2022

Updated 6 April 2022

This episode of Let's Talk Poverty discusses how providing resources and supports makes a difference in how newcomers navigate and adjust to life in Canada. Examines how meaningful partnerships help CIWA respond to the unique and individual needs of immigrant women and girls, and their families. And, delves into the value of removing language barriers from the equation and the importance of creating a sense of belonging.

In this episode

  • Exploration of settlement and integration. As people move from one place to another, how do we help people’s journey and process go smoothly as they strive to settle in a new place?
  • How active partnerships with agencies and organizations support the unique needs of women and therefore their families.
  • Why removing language barriers leads to greater understanding and allows people to start their settlement journey.
  • Some futures thinking about policy and what Calgary and Canada should start thinking about now.

Three key takeaways

  • The value of creating a sense of belonging and the importance of removing language barriers from the equation. Understanding that when people don’t speak the same language, they are automatically vulnerable.
  • The concept of addressing immediate basic needs, but at the same time digging deeper to identify and work through the underlying concerns in an effort to help people move along in their journey.
  • Why CIWA has a unique mandate to support women and the importance of providing culturally appropriate foods.

About Celestina Akinkunmi

Celestina Akinkunmi holds an MSc in Public Policy and Management from the University of London and currently works as the Settlement and Integration Manager at the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association. She has over 8 years of experience in the non-profit sector and her work is focused on community engagement and development related to Canada’s diversified newcomer population. Celestina manages a large portfolio with 18 programs and short-term projects at CIWA. She enjoys working on new and evolving initiatives that are focused on customized supports to bridge the gaps that newcomers encounter in their settlement and integration journeys. Celestina regularly shares her work with multiple audiences including students, government officials and community members. She is a humanitarian at heart and her passion and determination to help people is what informs her work in the non-profit sector. She enjoys spending time with her 3 children and husband.

About Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) is a culturally diverse settlement agency that recognizes, responds to, and focuses on the unique concerns and needs of immigrant and refugee women, girls, and their families. CIWA’s uniqueness is based on its gender specific mandate. Over the years, they have continually responded to the emerging needs of immigrant women and girls, developed innovative programs, established meaningful partnerships, and have come to be recognized as a provincial and national leader in outcome-based gender-specific settlement services. CIWA offers programs and services that use a holistic approach to support clients in the areas of settlement and integration, literacy and language training, employment support and bridging programs, family violence, parenting, individual counselling, in-home support, civic engagement, health, housing, and community development.

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