PRAIDA-YMCA (Programme régional d’accueil et d’intégration des demandeurs d’asile-YMCA) Day Centre
The Y Residence primarily offers temporary housing to individuals and families with various complex problems. The Residence receives refugee claimants, people who have been evicted or displaced, and families who come to Montréal for health care (Inuit clientele). In this context, the Residence’s community initiatives aim to support the individuals and families who stay there by welcoming them and fostering their integration. Given the importance of maintaining integration services for a population that often does not receive the assistance and support they need, on July 13, 2010, the Y Residence launched the PRAIDA-YMCA Day Centre. The Day Centre offers a reception and meeting place where refugee claimants can come to share their experience and break their isolation, and it also provides a wide range of services to foster the integration of refugee claimants into Quebec society.
The PRAIDA-YMCA Day Centre offers:
- Job training
- Workshops on immigration, searching for housing, the migratory process, social assistance, etc.
- A women’s group
- English and French conversation workshops
- Drop-in daycare (for activity participants only)
- Cultural outings
- Intercultural exchange activities
- Legal information
- Assistance writing letters and completing various forms
- Coffee meetings
- Support with the immigration process
Refugee claimants participate in the Day Centre services on a voluntary basis. Numerous people are referred by social services and community organizations. Recruitment is also done informally among the refugee claimants. Priority for the English and French conversation workshops is given to mothers with children under the age of 5 who use the drop-in daycare (mothers with young babies can participate in the workshops with their children).
The information sessions are led by stakeholders in partner organizations. Most of the participants attend regularly, several times a week for periods from a few weeks to a few months.
The preferred approaches to intervention are as follows:
- Community (intervention in networking): Develop joint projects to meet the needs of the clientele and of the stakeholders (institutions, NGOs, volunteers) who use their own strengths to achieve the desired outcomes.
- Systemic: Intervene in all areas of insecurity and vulnerability (challenges and problems encountered, general needs) in order to improve overall living conditions (social, cultural, economic, legal, physical, psychological, statutory, family and community).
- Participative: Promote exchanges (tools, solutions, resources) among the participants, because each person can contribute positively to the achievement and the success of all projects.
The annual report on the expenditure of funds must be submitted annually to all donor agencies (YMCA of Québec, Centraide, and Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSC), as well as to the Foundation of the YMCAs of Québec.
The families are coming back, and the Centre’s clientele has continued to grow since July 2010. One of our most successful programs is the Women in Action group. The objectives of this group are to expand the social network of women with young children, to break their isolation, to help them relax and, first and foremost, to have fun. The women who participate in this group share their knowledge and skills in cooking, embroidery, sewing and crafts. During the evaluation in December 2010, the women told us that they were very satisfied with these activities. The women like coming to the Residence because it gives them a chance to get out, make friends, enjoy themselves, have fun and learn. The women said that they have noticed that their stress has decreased, and their openness to the world has increased.
At the Day Centre, refugee claimants can also participate in conversation workshops. Priority for registration is given to parents with young children who use the children’s services because a lack of childminding can be a significant obstacle to accessing language programs (refugee claimants do not have access to government-funded daycare). To assess this service, 41 people answered a short in-house survey designed to determine their overall satisfaction, areas they thought could be improved and, in general, whether they found the workshops useful. Participants said that they were very satisfied with the service offered and that they appreciated the contact with the volunteer instructors. The workshops help participants expand their social network, learn more about Quebec culture and open up to new possibilities.
The Day Centre concept could by used by other YMCAs in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Other service providers can also adapt the concept to meet the specific needs of their clients: asylum seekers and refugees.
- Service Providers
- YMCA Residence
- The YMCAs of Québec, Centraide, and Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSC)
- Montreal, QC
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- French, English and Spanish
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Refugees (individuals and families)
- Expected Results
Language/Skills (Newcomers have language/skills needed to function in Canada)
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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