The FCJ Refugee Centre is celebrating 25 years of working with uprooted people. In order to celebrate our 25 years, we identified 25 values that represent the ethos of the FCJ Refugee Centre.
We would like to invite you to help us keep celebrating by donating $25.00 (or more) to ensure our continued commitment to “walking with uprooted people.”
You can choose one or more values above, click on the value and make your donation. Before you choose the values take a look at the following video:
SELF-CARE/MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
FCJ Refugee Centre’s model of care is holistic, focusing on improving mental, physical and spiritual health. Through a variety of supportive programs and initiatives, the Centre has helped newcomers to take control of their bodies, minds and lives thus improving their overall wellness. We aim to help individuals to de-stress and cope with the challenges of living in a stressful environment.
Recreation is crucial to human development, supporting creativity, health and social interaction. At the FCJ Refugee Centre, we strive to offer recreational opportunities for the youth network, the residents and other members of our community. Through these activities we have not only learned and taught new things, but were able to express ourselves in new ways.
The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that vulnerability is often a consequence of oppressive and exclusive social, economic or political policies which fail to address the needs of the society members in an equitable manner. We prioritized the needs of vulnerable communities and individuals, particularly women and children, through our integration/settlement services, specifically transitional housing; our immigrant and refugee protection program; the popular education services; our ever growing youth group and our coordination of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network.
The FCJ Refugee Centre considers gender as relational and self-defined as opposed to assigned, and recognizes the power relations involved in gender hierarchies. The Centre values the uniqueness of individuals’ self-defined identity, personality and character, and strives to fight gender-based oppression. In this context, the Centre aims to offer extra support to vulnerable individuals, particularly self-identified women.
The FCJ Refugee Centre offers to uprooted people, regardless of immigration status, a holistic approach which integrates their compelling story, their unique set of needs and their own barriers. As such we attempt to offer the greatest quantity and quality of services and supports possible.
Access to information is a fundamental right, as it enables people to make empowered decisions. Thus, FCJ Refugee Centre places access to information as one of its top activities, through legal education, popular education and ongoing support. Uprooted people in particular need timely and accurate information so that they can establish their lives in Canada.
The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that for uprooted people, refugees or newcomers, the best way to get integrated in a society is through peer mentorship… equals helping equals. For any uprooted person who arrives in this new land, to meet with a peer, seasoned or not, is a way to share experiences, insights, and expertise. The mentoring could include socialization, orientation, advising etc., which are pivotal to life in the new country.
The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that all uprooted people have strengths and capacities to contribute to the host country where their migration status is irregular. We understand and empathize with the experiences of precarious migrants who are viewed as disposable/temporary labour in Canada. The Centre strives to offer holistic support and find ways and means to formalize status where possible.
The FCJ Refugee Centre sees education and the access to it, as a human right and as the most powerful instrument for humanity broadly, and for every individual as a human being. As such, the Centre works hard to increase access to education at all levels, for everyone, particularly for uprooted youth, regardless of their immigration status. Educated youth are the future of this country.
The FCJ Refugee Centre tries to materialize the right of any person to seek and enjoy refuge; recognizes all uprooted/forcefully displaced persons as an asset to their receiving country and believes that the host country needs to create a welcoming environment for the newcomers to realize their full potential. Throughout history, people who were welcomed as refugees have had a huge impact on their host countries and the world. The Centre’s door is open to all people seeking refuge and sees them not as clients who need immediate support, but also as citizens of humanity, future citizens of Canada, with rich potential.
HONOURING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
The FCJ Refugee Centre respectfully acknowledges our location on the traditional land of the different indigenous communities who have walked here; we recognize all people on this land as Treaty people, and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities striving for self-determination. We also recognize that refugees, migrants and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada have shared similar experiences with injustice due to persecution, oppression, colonization, discrimination, stereotyping and exclusion, and we work to illuminate those connections in our community.
Members of the FCJ Youth Network have defined youth engagement as “the meaningful and ongoing inclusion and participation of self-defined youth in the activities of the FCJ Refugee Centre – including program development, program implementation, planning, decision-making and even employment.” The FCJ Refugee Centre believes that youth are the driving force for the advancement of any society and is committed to offering a space that is an easily accessible and inclusive where the youth will be fully valued, recognized and engaged. We believe that this space is shaped by the youth, and as such should continually acknowledge and celebrate their talents, resiliency and contributions to society.
The FCJ Refugee Centre has an established recognition for assisting refugees and non-status people who might not otherwise benefit from legal services or the legal system itself, thus denying them access to justice. We also support uprooted people in seeking justice in a variety of areas, advocating where necessary and empowering people to demand their rights.
OUR DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN
The FCJ Refugee Centre is an open space that welcomes all uprooted persons, and works from an intersectionality lens to offer client-centred services. Many of the people that come to the Centre for support may have experienced various forms of oppression, thus we strive to ensure spaces that are safe and free from discrimination. Through our vast networks and close ties, we are able to effectively direct and support people as they make their new path.
The FCJ Refugee Centre considers itself as part of the national and international community in the support of and advocacy for refugees. We work and network with different national and international organizations, partner with local organizations and develop relationships with diverse individuals.
One of the core services we provide is the transitional housing program for recently arrived women and their children. We welcome refugee women from all around of the world, who are able to build new and diverse communities. The FCJ Refugee Centre also prioritizes the need for shelter by reserving emergency spaces so that there is always a bed available.
The fundamental unit of any society is family, biological or not. In our office we feel like a family and interact like a family. We care for each other as members of one family, and our family keeps growing. That is why FCJ gives high priority to family integration, as all families should be united.
The FCJ Refugee Centre deeply understands the feeling and value of the kitchen in the culture of uprooted people. Once people are uprooted, it may be a long time before they can get settled in their own home and at their own kitchen table. Not only do staff, students and volunteers eat together every day, but our vision of community welcomes newcomers to join us around our kitchen table and feel that they are at home away from home. For a family, eating together in a kitchen is the utmost expression of solidarity, safety, of feeling at home.
The FCJ Refugee Centre is a grassroots organization. Yet, while we are small, we are able to accomplish many things! The Centre believes that issues, particularly marginalization and oppression, can be addressed from the ground up through grassroots-level work. By walking with uprooted people, we identify gaps in systems and services and try to remedy them with few resources but plenty of peer and ally heads and hands.
NO EMPTY HANDS
The FCJ Refugee Centre’s moto is to never send anyone away with empty hands. Whatever the issue, worry or concern that someone might have, the Centre either provides appropriate services directly, as we may already offer that service or people gave us the chance to learn with them, or we refer the person to the right place where they can get the services they need.
The FCJ Refugee Centre works with survivors of human trafficking offering support with immigration and settlement needs and advocating at the municipal, provincial and federal level to ignite political change to improve protection for them. The Centre believes: 1) human trafficking is largely driven by social, economic and political inequities; 2) the best protection for any trafficked person is his/her integration in the society that witnessed the human trafficking exploitation and cruelty and; 3) this phenomenon will continue to flourish as long as these local and global factors are not addressed by government policy in a coherent and strategic manner.
The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that there is a vast and ever-growing constellation of identities within the LGBTQ+ community(ies). We also recognize that oppression and discrimination for individuals within this constellation take many different forms. As such, the Centre works to be organic in our reception and response, working towards creating a positive space free from judgement, assumption and discrimination.
The FCJ Refugee Centre recognizes that while people become uprooted for many different reasons, they each have an unedited and untold personal history. At the Centre, we walk with, support and empowered uprooted people to navigate their own path. We also feel that Canadian society can only grow in richness and strength when people learn about each other’s histories and why/how some of us were uprooted from our original homes.
The FCJ Refugee Centre understands intersectionality as intersecting social identities, such as age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, class, social status, immigration status, sexual identity, experiences with authority, violence, etc., shape our uniqueness and inform our complicated relationships with power, privilege and oppression. Intersectional approaches invite us to value the diversity of those around us rather than make assumptions.
The FCJ Refugee Centre is not limited to the pursuit of short term solutions for refugees, but engaged in social justice oriented advocacy and the promotion of newcomer rights in their new society. The Centre works to impact policy makers to develop a broader view of migrant issues in order to formulate sound policy at the municipal, provincial and national level.