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Welcome to Mission
One in seven people living in Mission is from another country and all of them come here for different reasons.
To determine how immigrants are settling in and what the community can do to help, Mission Community Services Society has launched the Welcoming Communities project, funded by the provincial and federal governments.
Moving to a new country is exciting, but people can become irritated or worried when they are faced with challenges, like securing a job or housing. For the most part, Mission is making immigrants feel welcome, according to project leader Rick Rake.
Knowing where to go for help is key to a smooth transition, and he hopes this project will help.
Rake and his team have produced a 12-minute film featuring Mission's newest settlers to explore perceptions and create awareness about immigration.
"The project was challenging," said Rake, who found willing 10 participants through other program leaders at MCSS. "A lot of these people are not public speakers or actors and we had to ask the same question a number of times until we got a clear answer."
Both Harish Bains and Mana Sugawara, who are featured in the video, utilized services at MCSS to help them settle.
Bains holds a masters degree in philosophy and sociology from India and now works at Mission Association for Community Living. He had a relative residing here and chose to move his family to Canada to improve their quality of life and further his career.
"It is always a struggle when you go to a new place," said Bains. "Immigrants should be fully prepared and educated if they plan to look for a job."
Sugawara has been in Mission for more than two years and is studying nursing at University of the Fraser Valley. She says adjusting to the lifestyle here was the most challenging.
"How people talk, communicate, what they eat is different here. Things seem more formal in Japan," she observed.
Mission is friendly, she adds, but can welcome new immigrants better by boosting awareness of settlement programs and offering more social events.
The video is available at vimeo.com/74187624. Immigrant settlement programs are available at MCSS. For more information, call MCSS at 604-826-3634.