The Saamis Newcomer Youth Advisory Council- SNYAC was recently formed with the goal of giving the youth a safe space to talk about issues and challenges they are currently facing as newcomers in Medicine Hat.
BULLYING AND RACISM
Being new to the country, not speaking the language, having to adapt to new surroundings, costumes and culinary, and having no friends are just some of the challenges newcomer youth have to face when they arrive in Canada. They stand out from the regular students at school for looking different, wearing different clothes and even smelling different from everyone else. Due to that, newcomer youth are more susceptible to bullying and racism, which were the two predominant issues pointed out and experienced by almost all of them.
The council’s first official meeting happened on December 2019 at the Saamis Immigration office. There were three items on the agenda. First, the goals of the NCYAC were explained and discussed. Second, the members attended a presentation about Human Rights and Children’s Rights from the lawyer and activist Elizabeth Strange. Lastly, newcomer students along with the Settlement Worker in Schools Francisca deWever, did a couple of exercises where they talked about issues they faced as newcomers in Canada. Youth expressed their opinion by drawing and writing on paper. After that, ideas were presented by the individuals and discussed as a group. Some of the youth expressed they felt better after talking about their issues and seeing they are not alone. The next council meeting is booked for middle of January 2020.