A Fresh Start in Canada
Aliza appears in our September, 2016 Literacy is Life campaign on CBC British Columbia. She explains in her own words why programs such as IPALS (Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters) are so important to new British Columbians:
As a mother who came to Canada from Nepal five years ago, I understand the stress that Syrian mothers are feeling when settling in a brand-new country.
While in Nepal, I had a very good job and was involved with volunteer organizations. But, due to political instability, I had to make the hard decision to leave the country. I was very concerned about my daughter’s future.
Settling in Canada wasn’t easy. I was unaware about the Canadian way of life, and the Canadian way of parenting. I was particularly concerned about the language problem and adaptation of my daughter. We tried to take her to as many family events as possible. She didn’t understand the behaviour of the other children.
Literacy is important to me because it increases opportunities in all aspects of my life. It is a tool for personal empowerment.
I found a job working with early childhood educators, then in an organization helping fellow immigrants. Through these positions, I learned about the Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters (IPALS) program, and I’m now the B.C. coordinator at Decoda Literacy.
IPALS was specially designed by literacy experts to educate immigrant and refugee parents about early literacy development. It gives parents the chance to gain insights into the Canadian way of teaching and learning. The program teaches parents and caregivers about ways to support their young children’s learning in creative, interactive ways.
This program is an important first step for all new families. The program is available in Punjabi, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Karen and Farsi.
IPALS is wonderful for newcomer mothers who are confused about the various new rules and systems in a new country and have lots of questions. As a newcomer myself, I feel that this program is very important to the new Canadian experience.
Now, through IPALS, I am giving back to a country that accepted my family in those uncertain days.
Thinking back, if I had been in IPALS, I would have been able to adapt faster and learn about the things I wanted to learn about more quickly. Thanks to your support, I am giving this chance to more new Canadians.
As a non-profit organization, we rely on your generosity, and the generosity of other individuals, corporations, and the provincial government to support literacy and learning in British Columbia.
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