Newcomers' Youth Voice

Project location: Ottawa, Ontario

Organizing team Members: Keshav, Sudesh, Christy

Supported by: YOCISO


The Project

This project aims to support newcomers and refugees by finding the majors issues faced by them. The youth began with a group discussion about various problems, listed said problems and voted for which among the issues discussed were the ones they seek to tackle in their project.

First session:

The first session was conducted on February 16th, 2017, in YOCISO's facilities. Youth participants were given sticky notes on which they wrote down the issues/barriers they face as newcomer youth in Canada, different skills they possess, and potential ideas for a project. They then posted their issues and barrier-notes on a picture of a tree on the wall. The youth posted skills on the trunk of the tree and project ideas in its branches. After discussing the problems they face, they posted them on roots of the tree, as those challenges affect your grounding in live every day. The youth then took a vote on the main issues they wished to address through the project. Afterwards, pinpointed the skills they could use to solve those problems. The majority of youth finally voted to make a video that would serve as an educational tool to represent the issues the voted for.

They outlined three main issues of focus for the video were:

  1. Loneliness
  2. Language barriers
  3. Lack of friends or difficulty to make new ones


Taking Action!

In the second session, participants began with another icebreaker game. This time, they invited a mental health clinical counsellor as a guest speaker. The guest speaker facilitated the half hour of the session, discussing the mental health issues faced by newcomer youth and how these struggles are stigmatized in various cultures. She also discussed the different ways of seeking help and self-care when handling stress, anxiety and depression. The group then revisited their previous session and outlined what specific type of video they sought to make. Divided into two groups they all worked on creating a story board for the video recording. Each group presented their story and the main issue it addressed to the other. The participants then combined both stories into one. Everyone agreed that their video would be focusing on language barrier as it is also very much related to loneliness and also makes it harder to make new friends. The youth wrote the script of the story. Within one week, the youths started filming and acting out the video in various locations. 


On March 8th, 2017, the video was screened during the International Women’s Day celebration in the centre!


Christy Etienne
Youth Program Coordinator
YOCISO Program
Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

Telephone : 613-725-5671 poste 346