Doors opening for new leaders

When Dew Manyok arrived in Red Deer four years ago, she found it hard at first to get involved in the community.

Dew Manyok prepares material for the Home Instruction For Parent and Preschool Youngsters program she teaches. Originally from Sudan

When Dew Manyok arrived in Red Deer four years ago, she found it hard at first to get involved in the community.

Originally from Sudan, since age six Manyok had lived in refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

“When I came to Red Deer, I didn’t know where to start,” said the statuesque beauty. The 29-year-old lives in Red Deer with her husband Andrew Atem.

She eventually found out about the Central Alberta Refugee Effort Committee (CARE) and the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA), where she met friends and got involved.

A new program through CAIWA is trying to further improve Manyok and many other Central Albertan immigrants’ civic participation.

Named Stand Up to Be Counted, the eight-week class started in January, with 10 students — mostly from Africa and South America.

The program finished Saturday with a leadership session that drew around 25 people, with Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas speaking to the students.

The program received close to $50,000 in funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Organizers hope to continue the program in coming months, with a new group of students, who will meet for two hours once a week for eight weeks.

Laurie Carlson, program co-ordinator of Stand Up to Be Counted, has already seen the difference in her students, who drop by the office at 4818 50th Ave. in Red Deer to tell her the community activities they have become involved in.

She said the class has helped others find the services they need.

Manyok said the program has shown her where she can go if she needs help and who she should talk to. She said the program has also shown her how she can volunteer in the community.

Carlson said many of the students are from countries where civic participation isn’t encouraged or tolerated. She said while many Canadians take their democratic rights for granted, for many immigrants it’s a new experience and they’re not sure at first how to work it into their lives.

Halima Ali, executive director of CAIWA, said many newcomers first need to learn to communicate and then find a job, but it’s also important that they become involved in the community.

She said immigrants in Central Alberta need to be engaged socially through volunteer activities so that they have a network of people and politically so they know that their MPs and MLAs are there to represent them. She said they also need to be involved culturally, both learning about Canadian culture and sharing their own culture.

Ali said people need to sustain themselves and their families, but they also need to have a better life and part of that is getting involved in the community where they are living.

Manyok becomes more involved in Red Deer with each passing year.

After working with seniors through Catholic Social Services for the past four years, she recently became the co-ordinator of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) through CAIWA. The program helps immigrant families, with Manyok doing home visits to teach parents how to teach their children.

“I like it. I like to help,” Manyok said. “It’s a good opportunity for kids to learn.”

Just Posted

Red Deer church donates to Safe Harbour

It was all about helping those in need at Safe Harbour in… Continue reading

Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits, dismissal

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against… Continue reading

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

HALIFAX — Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi may have hoped to quietly disappear from… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding

WASHINGTON — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans… Continue reading

Holocaust victims buried after remains found in UK museum

LONDON — The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the… Continue reading

Photos: Rocks fly at 37th Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel

Twenty-nine teams gathered at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer for… Continue reading

Death toll reaches 79 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — People in the town where a gasoline explosion killed… Continue reading

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 71, leaves nightmare of ash

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in… Continue reading

Tall timber towers taking root in Canada as builders look to go green

TORONTO — Six years ago architect Michael Green took the stage at… Continue reading

Most Read