One would think, after a month of not blogging (quite a dry spell for me), that I would have a nice long post to share. Eloquent typings of a month gone by, lessons learned, insight sought, morals immortalised. And yet, all I have for you is a lovely news story.
I recently had a conversation with my step mother about Jews using their position as immigrants to North America, and their success at integration into this society and climbing the socio-economic ladder, to mentor current new immigrant groups. She asked if I knew of any examples of such a partnership; I was sure it existed, but couldn’t think of any off hand.
Today, my father sent me this article:
Oct 29, 2008 04:30 AM
A first-generation Somali Canadian immigrant, Toronto law student Ayan Hersi didn’t know whom to turn to for advice and help pursuing her career.
But an innovative program, announced yesterday, is expected to give the 27-year-old woman and youth from her 250,000-strong community – one of Greater Toronto’s and Canada’s most impoverished – a needed lift by matching them with mentors from the more established Jewish community.
“Our generation is still young and the future is in our hands. Unlike others, we can’t call so and so and ask for help,” said Hersi, who has an undergraduate degree in equity studies, political science and African studies, and is pursuing a law degree at University of Toronto.
“We always have to go outside the community for help,” she added. “I am the first in my family to have graduated from a university, and studying law.”
The unusual partnership between the Canadian Somali Congress, the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto and the Canadian Jewish Congress is the brainchild of the Canadian International Peace Project, a non-partisan charitable organization that helps bring together diverse groups to work on peace, security and development projects.
Hersi is paired with James Morton, past president of the Ontario Bar Association, whose Jewish immigrant family arrived in Canada in the 1960s from Europe via the U.S.
Mark Persaud, peace project founder, said the Somali community has identified the lack of mentorship opportunity as a huge disadvantage for its young people. He hopes the program can be a model for future initiatives.
Wonderful! I hope it’s reaching beyond the legal sector as well.