ISANS settlement services offer all immigrants to Nova Scotia the foundational support they need on their immigration journey, while also empowering them to use their resilience and strengths to grow and flourish in their new communities. Whether responding to humanitarian or family crises, locating affordable housing, or helping mothers become their children’s first teachers, our settlement teams are dedicated to ensuring every immigrant has the support they need to successfully meet the challenges of long-term integration, especially those most vulnerable.
This past year has been an incredibly busy one for our settlement teams. In summer 2021, Canada committed to resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees in Canada, and this work is still going strong across the country – including here in Halifax, where Stanfield International Airport is an official port of entry to Canada. ISANS is on the front lines of this initiative, with dedicated staff welcoming arrivals at the airport as they disembark, supporting them through Customs and Immigration, and connecting them with many social and community services such as the education and public health systems.
Between September and November 2022, we supported roughly 1,000 Afghan refugees who arrived in Halifax on charter flights from Pakistan. While this is itself a tremendous success for ISANS and Nova Scotia, the real success, we believe, is the engagement and response we’ve received from the Afghan community who were already settled or have just started to settle in Halifax. Many of them have been recent ISANS clients who arrived with one of the earlier charter flights to Canada in the last year. Despite the hardships they have been through, this group of Afghans have shown an inspiring desire and dedication to help other refugees and immigrants in need, and to give back to the country and communities that took them in.
Almost immediately after arriving in Halifax, many began volunteering with ISANS, and some have gone on to officially join the ISANS team as paid employees. We couldn’t be more grateful for their support. Their personal experience, insights, and empathy help other immigrants and refugees feel the safety of a strong support system, which in turn helps them feel more prepared to face challenges and more connected to their communities.
Communities thrive when their members’ essential needs are met, no matter how new or well-established those members may be. We all benefit from welcoming communities. By creating an equitable future where everyone can grow and belong, we will build a stronger Nova Scotia.