Together Project

Meet Afghan Newcomer & Volunteer Zabi Yousofi!


“I’ve faced the challenges of resettling in a new country firsthand, motivating me to volunteer with refugee newcomers through Together Project”

1 – You’re a newcomer yourself, but you came to Together Project to volunteer to help other new arrivals in Canada. Why was it important for you to volunteer with refugee newcomers?

As a newcomer, I’ve faced the challenges of resettling in a new country firsthand, motivating me to volunteer with refugee newcomers through Together Project. I understand the importance of offering support and guidance to those starting afresh, and through volunteering, I aim to provide practical assistance and foster connections to ease their transition. Additionally, volunteering has helped me expand my network and gain valuable experience from fellow volunteers in my day-to-day life. 

2 – You’re Afghan, but you were brought up in Iran and educated in India. How do these international experiences shape your approach to assisting newcomers?

These international experiences have taught me the importance of empathy, adaptability, and effective communication in bridging cultural divides and building inclusive communities. By drawing on my multicultural background, I strive to create welcoming environments that embrace diversity, foster mutual understanding, and empower newcomers to navigate their new surroundings with confidence. My experiences abroad have also equipped me with valuable insights into the challenges of integration and the resilience required to overcome them, enabling me to provide meaningful support and guidance to newcomers on their journey of settlement and integration. 

3 – You’ve been in two matches so far. How were they the same? How were they different?

In both matches, the families shared a common Afghan background and sought assistance in finding employment as their primary need. However, their specific circumstances differed significantly. While one family was comprised of parents with small children who required support in accessing schools, sports classes, and English language classes, the other family consisted of adult members who were seeking social events to alleviate feelings of loneliness. Despite these differences, my approach in both cases focused on addressing their unique needs and providing tailored support to facilitate their integration and well-being in their new community. 

4- What advice would you give to others who are thinking about volunteering with the Welcome Group Program?

For those considering volunteering with the Welcome Group Program, my advice would be to approach it with an open heart and mind. Embrace the diversity of experiences and backgrounds you will encounter among newcomers, and be prepared to learn as much as you teach. Flexibility, empathy, and patience are key virtues, as every individual and family will have unique needs and challenges. Building genuine connections and relationships based on trust and respect is crucial, as it can have a lasting impact on the newcomers’ integration journey. Most importantly, remember that your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make a significant difference in someone’s life, so seize the opportunity to make a positive impact in your community.

5- If a Welcome Group was connecting with an Afghan newcomer for the first time, what would your tips be?

 When initiating contact with Afghan newcomers, it’s crucial for volunteers to clarify the essence of volunteerism to manage expectations effectively. Prioritizing challenges based on urgency and the newcomer’s requests is key. While in-person meetings can be time-consuming and challenging to coordinate, I recommend emphasizing virtual calls for more frequent engagement. This approach not only keeps applicants more engaged but also fosters a sense of care and connection. 

6 – We’ve seen you at some of our in-person Together Project events. What has it been like to connect with other newcomers and Welcome Group volunteers? 

Attending Together Project events has been enriching, fostering meaningful connections with fellow newcomers and volunteers. Sharing experiences with those who understand resettlement challenges has been invaluable; I even made friends within my first year in Canada attending these events. Overall, the project has been a source of inspiration and personal growth, highlighting the importance of community and collaboration. 


Interested in getting involved with the Welcome Group Program? Learn more about it here!

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