Somali women of Hamilton share their story through pictures

Homegrown Hamilton Café hosted the “Pathway & Barriers” exhibit, a photographic presentation of the struggles faced by female refugees from Somalia in Hamilton.

The exhibit was created by the Immigrant Women’s Centre (located on Barton Street and Nash) not only to present the struggles that newly arrived immigrants to Hamilton face, but also the help the Centre provides. The photographs in the presentation were taken by one of seven Somali women who participated in this exhibit. Under the photos were captions by one of the women explaining the idea in the picture.

“IWC helps a lot of newcomers with education and job searching,” said Deqa, a Somalian woman who has been in Canada since 1999. She’s managed to go to school and now helps new arrivals with their English. Along with help in education the women also explain other obstacles in their community.

Like Salado, who says in a caption below the picture of a bus stop in Hamilton that she “doesn’t feel safe at times” and that people need to stop discriminating because it hurts her feelings. Salado’s lived in Canada for 8 years and like the others she volunteers at teaching new Somalians in the community.

The other women included in their photographs scenarios they faced that the IWC’s Leading and Learning workshop (an eight week workshop program funded by Immigration Canada) can have a positive effect on. This workshop allows participants to use their experiences to help newcomers as peer support workers and become leaders in their communities. The IWC says their goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness “over the challenges and successes that many newcomers face”.

The women also voiced other concerns over life in Hamilton, such as poor housing, troubles with public transit, finding jobs,  and the importance of community centers.

“The Immigrants Women’s Centre asked if we would be interested in this and we said yes… it was a worthwhile project,” Tim Lidster, Homegrown Hamilton Café owner said about the exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display at the café from October 13th to Nov 4, between 11:00am and 2:00pm.

Homegrown Hamilton Café is located at 27 King William St, Hamilton, ON.


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