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A Closer Look
What are your mission and vision?
The objectives of the Southwest Multicultural Association are:
- To promote recognition of cultural diversity in southwest Saskatchewan and assist the development and acceptance of multiculturalism
- To promote understanding and acceptance of others through the appreciation of cultures which make up the multicultural reality of southwest Saskatchewan
- To foster an environment in which organizations and individuals can contribute to the multicultural development of southwest Saskatchewan
- To promote positive cross-cultural relations through cross-cultural communication, contact and understanding
- To promote community education of multicultural issues
What are the programs and services offered by your organization?
We offer cultural programs in our communities and also support or sponsor cultural activities in the communities. We advocate and educate on anti-racism around March 21st and when other opportunities arise. We have acted as a liaison for SOHL to provide ethnic language programs in our schools. We have representation on the Newcomer Welcome Centre Board. Our board members were actively involved with the Immigration Committee that helped found the Newcomer Welcome Centre. Our board members are also involved in celebrating International Women’s Day in partnership with International Women of Saskatchewan. We have had a multicultural celebration or celebration of a culture almost every year.
Our members have supported the multicultural youth program in schools in the past, when they were offered as a provincial initiative. On occasion, we have supported or sponsored programs with First Nations cultural group in Maple Creek, particularly when they started celebrating Multicultural Day in Maple Creek.
We were instrumental in sponsoring the Newcomer Welcome supper and cultural event, when a significant number of newcomers started coming to Southwest Saskatchewan. The goal of this event was to help people get to know the newcomers in their community with the potential of developing long-lasting friendships. We hosted the event for four years. The very first event was held in Shaunavon; newcomers were brought in by bus from the surrounding areas to join the celebration. Following the event in Shaunavon, we had welcome gatherings in Gravelbourg, Swift Current and Maple Creek.
Whom do you serve/target with your programs and services?
Our target audience would be all residents of Southwest Saskatchewan.
What are you working on right now (project, fundraiser, special event, etc)?
Our current projects:
- Central School Multicultural celebration in October, 2014
- Diwali Celebration in October , 2014
- Filipino Christmas celebration in December,2014
- International Women’s Day in March, 2015
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, 2015
- Multicultural Week celebration in June, 2015
One more cultural celebration or sponsoring a speaker to talk on Human Rights or RacismWe might host other events depending upon the opportunities that might come our way.
What is one thing people may not know about your organization?
That we are able to provide resources and support to activities that promote diversity, celebrate cultures and provide education on racism, discrimination and human rights.
Please share a story that illustrates your organization’s impact in the community.
Soon after the 9-11 tragedy and the destruction of the World Trade Centre, many members of the visible minority were facing blatant comments based on hatred and racism. Southwest Multicultural Association brought various key people of the community together to discuss the matter. MCoS provided support to us as well. After a few community wide discussions, the rumours about people representing the Islamic community and the blatant acts of racism were reduced.
What types of challenges does your organization face?
We face challenges in obtaining adequate resources to promote our organization and its programs. While the current increase in immigration is creating a great deal of attention for cultural diversity, new organizations with a primary focus on immigrant settlement receive most of the resources and community focus. The Southwest Multicultural Association is run entirely by volunteers and is challenged to nurture on-going partnerships to deepen the conversation on long-term integration, diversity and multiculturalism.