A helping hand is always welcome in a foreign land.
That's exactly what the folks offer at the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre in Swift Current.
It's their job to help folks coming to Canada with all the strange challenges that come with the territory of moving to a new country.
Icasiana De Gala is the executive director for the Welcome Centre and is no stranger to the challenges people face when moving to Canada from the world abroad.
"We welcome so many people from so many cultures," said De Gala. "For example, people from India. There, every province has its own language, its own culture. We have to be always cognizant of the fact that everyone is coming from different cultures, from different countries and we have to continuously educate ourselves on how to deal with our clients."
When the whole world can walk through your door on any given day, it can be difficult not just for the newcomers, but for the Welcome Centre as well. They have to be able to adapt to any culture coming in, with grace and understanding of the client's particular needs and requirements.
Moving to Canada means that most likely you are coming from someplace that doesn't have French and English up and down the aisles of the grocery store. The language barrier is persistent for any person coming from a non-English or non-French speaking country.
"The language barrier is one of the most obvious things with many newcomers," said De Gala. "Some of these [newcomers] are already highly educated, but it's hard when you don't have the language right?"
They take newcomers who have the skills through an entire process to help them apply their talents appropriately. That means finding not only resources to help them develop language skills, but also finding appropriate work.
"The most important barrier is looking for employment," said De Gala. "By looking for employment, I mean employment that is connected or related to their prior education or prior experience."
As an example, if an individual worked as an engineer in their previous country, they cannot immediately do so here. The Welcome Centre works in partnership with the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce for some of these people, helping to find them a job that applies their unique skill set or to help them reestablish themselves in their field.
But those and other problems that crop up are exactly what the professionals at the Welcome Centre are equipped to deal with. Their skill set is wide and varies depending on the client's needs.
Myrose Castro moved to Canada with her husband Ariel and their children, Myiel and Myriette from Saudia Arabia, although both Mrs. and Mr. Castro are originally from the Philippines.
Myrose is attending the Great Plains College, and her husband works in Swift Current. She received help from the Welcome Centre when they arrived in getting housing sorted, and getting her kids into school.
"I sent an e-mail to the [Welcome Centre] to let them know that we would be arriving August 3," said Myrose. "They replied to me that, 'OK, we will accommodate you when you arrive here and we will accommodate the housing for you'."
Both their son and daughter, Myiel and Myriette, have enjoyed the programs the Welcome Centre offer children as they integrate into a new school system, and culture.
"It's really a great opportunity to go to [the Welcome Centre] if you're new because they can help very well," said Myiel.
The programs help children to meet other kids that have integrated from abroad, and provide an opportunity to not only learn, but to make some friends as well.
As far as Myriette is concerned, the school in Canada is fantastic.
"It's very nice and my teacher is nice," said the younger sibling. " A lot of other kids come in for that stuff too, and they're all nice too."
De Gala and her team are used to helping individuals and their families as they arrive, interacting with different organizations in Swift Current and the southwest to help bring the community together around newcomers.
Their services are vital to helping grow the international community not only in Swift Current, but across southwestern Saskatchewan. They enable people to come from any background and join in this wonderful part of the world and its community far easier than if they came in with zero structure. Helping provide work, education, and home to thousands of people over the years, it's in no small way amazing what they provide with their services.
If you would like to support everything they do at the Welcome Centre, you can do so by purchasing a 50/50 for Change ticket today at Canadian Tire in Swift Current. All day today until 5 p.m, there will be someone from Swift Current's radio stations helping staff from the Welcome Centre sell the tickets, with proceeds going back to the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre.
50/50 for Change is running until October 7, when the draw will be made at 2 p.m.