By Paroma Datta. Paroma is an Indian-born Ottawa resident since 2012. She loves noodles and solving the rubik’s cube. She works as a digital media strategist and is Media Action’s official live tweeter.
Immigration is much talked about these days, even though it is not a new phenomenon. Humans have been migrating since the beginning of time. A need for better life, better education, better future prospects and better trade relations has been propelling migration for ages.
In a more local context, Ottawa is emerging to be the one of the fastest growing cities and dream destination for folks from around the world. But exactly what about Ottawa is driving up its immigration census? And how easy is it to migrate to Ottawa and start a new life for immigrants? To know more, come out to Media Action’s Ask Women Anything panel discussion on Immigration in Ottawa: The Real Deal at Bar Robo (692 Somerset Street West) on February 22 at 7pm.
Media Action is a non-profit Ottawa based organisation that aims to spread awareness and equity in gender representation through media. Since 2014, Media Action has been conducting the Ask Women Anything (AWA) series. These events aim to bring forward individuals who identify as women, to voice their concerns on various topics and interact with the audience in an intimate setting.
This month’s AWA aims to demystify and paint a clearer picture about immigration in Ottawa. Ottawa is a rich tapestry of cultural diversity. It is brimming with folks from every corner of the world. However, migrating to and settling down in Ottawa is not very straightforward. Often times, the cultural differences and the elusive job market offset many individuals in their quest for building a better life in Canada’s capital.
To address these issues and talk about Ottawa’s cultural expectations, Media Action has organized this month’s AWA consisting of four women panelists who will help us understand Ottawa better.
Kenyan-born Sarah Onyango is a well-known fixture on Ottawa’s community media scene. She is very active in the Black community in Ottawa and has done a great deal to promote its people, organizations, causes and events. In 2003, to make it easier for the Black community to stay connected, Sarah created a website called BlackOttawa411 which has become a virtual community “hub” of sorts.
Sally Dimachki is currently a Project Coordinator at Refugee 613, a coalition of settlement agencies, community organizations, private sponsorship groups, volunteers and local citizens, working together on refugee integration in Ottawa. As an immigrant to Canada, she is passionate about amplifying the voices of immigrant & refugee women and creating opportunities for young women in leadership.
Susima Lopez Martinez is a young mother, who immigrated to Canada from Cuba in 2008 after meeting and marrying a Canadian. She became a Canadian citizen in 2016. Susi, as she likes to be called, has put her studies on hold until her youngest of three children begins school. In Cuba, she had studied nursing. She has dealt with the immigration system first hand and is still doing so as she attempts to sponsor her mother, who currently lives in the U.S.
Rama Al Safadi is a settlement counselor at the Somali Centre For Family Services. Rama and her family arrived in Canada in September 2016, lived in Alberta for 6 months and moved to Ottawa in April 2017 in search of a better future.
Ask Women Anything – Immigration in Ottawa: The Real Deal is Thursday February 22 at 7pm. To guarantee entry, book your free ticket online. Those without a ticket will be let in on a first come, first served basis. It will be held at Bar Robo, 692 Somerset Street West. Venue is on ground floor and has gender neutral washrooms.