#12, September 2022


Bridging the Gaps In a Host Country's System

A world that breaks down and rebuilds itself, borders that open and close, policies that change according to whoever is in power, the ongoing stress of trying to make ends meet with inadequate funds, social isolation: these are the core elements of daily life for people seeking asylum in Canada and key issues for their first ally in a new land, Welcome Collective.

Welcome Collective: An innovative model

In the 12th edition of Raccords, the digital quarterly of Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS), we discover the vitality and agility of this NPO, which arose from a collective desire to help vulnerable, marginalized and often invisible persons who have fled their homes and a harrowing past in the hope of building a better life here in Quebec.

After an initial focus on the provision of essential goods, the Collective has begun to integrate asylum seekers into its iterative process to help optimize services and adapt them to the real needs of the people requiring assistance. The result is an innovative pairing system that matches volunteers, trained and guided by the Welcome Collective, with refugee claimant families. In this way, the relationship goes beyond material assistance; it begins to meet a psychological and social need at the very time that a person, landing here with little more than a suitcase and traumatic emotional baggage, is obliged to find their bearings quickly and cope with the flaws of an imperfect system.

A vehicle for action to address the complex reality of asylum seekers

This is the context in which the Welcome Collective team invites us to take a closer look at the reality of asylum seekers, whose personal journeys call for an attentive ear, support, and commitment.

The Collective builds a bridge connecting the needs of the impoverished persons who arrive here and the system they must navigate. We also build a bridge between the person who wishes to help and those who need that help. We have learned a lot in a few years. But we were not mistaken about the readiness of Montrealers to help. All they needed was the vehicle to accomplish it,” says Dina Souleiman, executive director of Welcome Collective.

Read the other sections of this issue

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