While each newcomer will bring their own personality and tenacity to the job of settling in, we wanted to share our thoughts on some common experiences of refugee newcomers with special consideration for those who have survived infinite detention.
Every newcomer who arrives in Canada will find it challenging to adjust to their new lives. You may come here alone or you may come here with family or friends. You are thrilled to leave the uncertainty and trauma of detention, but you don’t know what waits for you. In addition to the things that most newcomers experience, refugees from PNG and Nauru have faced significant trauma during their period of prolonged detention. This is in addition to the traumas you may have experienced that caused you to flee in the first place.
In addition to trauma, there are barriers that limit the ability of LGBTQI+ newcomers to belong to a new community. When LGBTQI+ newcomers are caught in between the struggle to belong to a new community and the need to keep connection with or disconnect from their original community, they often tend to slip into isolation….
When signing on as a refugee settlement volunteer, the need for self-care is a critical part of what we do. Without it, we risk not fulfilling our reasons for becoming a refugee sponsor, and not fulfilling our obligation to the refugee newcomer. The challenge is to balance the needs of ourselves and those we are helping, especially when our pitchers are running low.
Newcomers arriving to Canada from PNG and Nauru have faced significant trauma during their period of prolonged detention. We expect that everyone who arrives will need mental health and trauma supports made available, whether it is to deal with the effects of long-term detention, the stresses of adjusting to a new culture, or the grief and loss of leaving friends behind who are still in detention.
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