Settlement Worker, MOSAIC
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ariane came to Canada in 2004. She arrived in Canada on a Thursday and began her Business Degree at SFU the following Tuesday. Ariane brings the same determination to her work at MOSAIC. In her commitment to integrating newcomers to Canada, Ariane makes tremendous efforts to ensure that the services they receive are effective, efficient and inclusive.
Ariane says that usually the biggest challenge for newcomers is language, but because she already spoke English when she came, culture shock was the issue. She was surprised at people’s attitudes and what they wore; they dressed down, carried backpacks and were very casual. It was a huge contrast to life in Africa where people dressed up for school.
And…“I was very cold when I came here – I wasn’t prepared.”
In an effort to get connected to life in Canada, she joined many clubs at SFU and volunteered at her church.
In her work at MOSAIC she supports immigrants and refugees, empowering them to begin a lifelong learning journey.
When clients who do not read or write English come into the MOSAIC office, it is a challenge to get them information that they can understand. “They take written information home and they cannot do anything with it.”
Ariane works tirelessly to connect these newcomers to people who speak their language and can find them the services they need. She says, “I remember one Iranian woman who was having difficulty with a visa application for her mother. I helped her fill out all the forms. One day I got a call from her thanking me. She was overjoyed because her mother was finally in Canada.”
Ariane sets up a tax clinic in March every year with one of her coworkers and guides newcomers through the unfamiliar Canadian tax system and ensures her clients make it through the maze of new forms. This service is vital for new immigrants and the clinic is always busy.
Ariane also works with a group of mothers and their toddlers. The group meets to socialize, learn about early childhood issues, and share their cultures. The mothers form a close-knit group, celebrating each other’s successes and supporting each other through difficult times.
Ariane is committed to providing services for low-income immigrants in Burnaby and New Westminster. She has gone beyond the call of duty to provide services for the most vulnerable residents in these two municipalities. Her advice to newcomers is simple, “Take it slow, one day Canada will all make sense to you.”
““I like this work. I get to see results. Everyday I can see that what I do makes a difference.”