One small act of welcome cannot only help a newcomer when they need it most, but it can inspire them to be life-long welcomers. London is full of immigrants, and we find that many of our #1000ActsOfWelcome are initiated by immigrants themselves. It is particularly impactful to see acts of welcome coming from those who were newcomers themselves, not long ago.
We received this act of welcome from Sandra Z., who now gives back through the very same organization which welcomed her when she first came to London:
“As an immigrant, I am happy to be a mentor through the mentorship program at Immploy. I had the great opportunity of being a mentee when I came to Canada. Today I help new immigrants to connect and learn about employers and the labour market in London. I am giving back, because I am so grateful for all the people who have been part of my journey during this process.”
Another Londoner, Mustapha, shows the impact that a simple act of welcome can have:
“When I first came to London, I was too shy to ask for help. My English level was very low, so I had to call friends miles away to help me navigate the system. This went on until one day when I got lost and could not reach out to my friends or Google maps for help because my phone battery was dead.
Left with no choice, I approached the first person I saw and asked about how I could get back home. I tried using a few words, such as street name, Fanshawe College, bus etc. And suddenly, that gentle person asked me "Parlez-vous francais?" and I said Yes Yes Yes Yes.. so we continued our conversation in French.
This person was very helpful and told me to not hesitate to ask around, because people speak different languages, different dialects.. and that I will always finds someone to help.
Since that day, I pay more attention while walking on the street and am always open to helping people.. I even translate when the person doesn't speak English!”
These stories provide a beacon of hope to newcomers in the community: not only will you find those who welcome you, but you will one day be in a position to help someone else.
To those doing the welcoming, realize that your actions are far more powerful than you may think!