September, 2019
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One voice for International students

One voice for International students

Many organizations have joined hands together under one umbrella to help and support international students’ concern

By One Voice Canada Team

International Students have been a topic of discussion in the recent years in Canada, due to many reasons.  There have been ongoing concerns which they have been encountering when immigrating to Canada as students, as well as the communities facing their own concerns on certain fronts as well.  Particularly, certain areas within Canada are noticing more problems than others.  As we all know, many of these students come here for education and bettering their life, but at what cost?  On Feb 7th, 2019 Sikh Seva Foundation in co-ordination with the local Gurdwara Sahib’s in Surrey BC, along with many other non-profit organizations and professionals came together inregards to International Students and their concerns over exploitation problems, college and immigration problems and other concerns being encountered by the students and community.  Multiple organizations were present at the meeting and were given time to speak.

These organizations and professionals have come together to form ONE VOICE CANADA SOCIETY in order to assist International Students and their concerns going further.  One Voice Canada consists of support from the following organizations and professionals:  (Sikh Seva Foundation, BC Gurdwara Committees, World Sikh Organization (WSO), Khalsa Aid (KA), Akal Academy Surrey, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen (GNFK), South Asian Family Association (SAFA), South Asian Mental Health Alliance (SAMHAA), 3E Organization (3EO), Camp We Empower, Moving Forward Family Counseling Services (MFFC), Police Officers, Lawyers, Immigration Consultants, Registered Nurses,  International Students, Sikh Student Associations, Student Associations and some Media Outlets). What makes One Voice Canada unique is that it consists of International Students who are helping to create a better society for other International Students after the troubles they themselves faced, once arriving in Canada.

The Mission of One Voice is to provide awareness, support and advocacy (ASA) to students and the community without judgment, in order to create a better society.  The vision is to build a bridge between the local community and international students that can facilitate positive change.

One Voice Canada launch took place in April at City Center Library in Surrey, BC. Many attended the launch and it was a success, again with many professionals, non-profits, international students, and general public attending. It was great to see such support and to see that moving forward, many are willing to help bring out the awareness, help support international students, as well as advocate for them where and when required.  One Voice Canada will continue to conduct workshops and seminars to raise awareness among international students to help them understand key issues including; Rights and protections provided to students and residents of Canada, and support that is available through non-profits and government agencies, and provide immediate emotional and practical support to international students in distress.  Future plans also include, collaborating with other non-profit organizations, professionals and government agencies to help bring about the positive change that is required.

One Voice will also had a  booth at the recent local Surrey Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan (parade) on April 20th, where many individuals came to meet the team. One Voice will continue to take part on many events to bring about the awareness required.

Currently, One Voice Canada has been able to take on international student cases which have come about due to the exploitation concerns from certain perspectives such as employment,  sexual harassment concerns, residential concerns and other issues international students have been facing here.

By taking on these cases one by one the team of professionals on One Voice Canada has been able to provide support and advocate for the students, as well as guide them as needed with the resources available for them in Canada. The ultimate goal of One Voice Canada is not only to provide support, advocacy, and resources to the students, but eventually compile data or stats which can be used possibly for changes to be brought to the system in the future as needed to prevent similar ongoing problems from occurring. We hope to being about as a team the change that is needed and required for not only the international students, but the community at large.

For further information, you may contact One Voice Canada by emailing help@onevoicecanada.org, or visit thewebsite www.onevoicecanada.org. A helpline is available for immediate needs as well 1-833-31VOICE (1-833-318-6423).

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