The Refuge: A CYRRC Podcast

CYRRC’s podcast series, The Refuge, brought together youth with refugee experience, academics, and community partners to discuss issues affecting refugee children, youth, and families in Canada.

The Refuge – Policy Matters is a special, three-episode series that focused on policy issues and brough policy makers into discussion with academics, community partners, and people with lived experience. These episodes each have an associated policy brief.

The Refuge can be found on podcast streaming services by searching: “The Refuge CYRRC” or on YouTube, as well as at the links below.

The Refuge Episode 10: Nothing About Us Without Us: Meaningful Youth Engagement

Welcome to the tenth and final episode of The Refuge. In this episode, we discuss an issue that we’ve come to view as essential to the integration of children and youth with refugee experience in Canada – the meaningful involvement of those youth in the program and policy decisions that affect them.

Our guests include Ani Gurtsishvili – a first-generation immigrant committed to advancing equity and inclusion in her work as the Program Associate Mariam Assefa Fund with World Education Services (WES); Craig Carter-Edwards – Analyst with Settlement and Integration Policy at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the co-founder of Welcome Home TO; and Theresa Jones – Coordinator for Programs and Policy with the World Education Services (WES) where she supports the development of program and policy interventions to facilitate the labor market integration of immigrant communities.

Recorded: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Refuge – Policy Matters: The Question of Belonging 

Welcome to Policy Matters, a special mini-series of The Refuge podcast that focuses on policy issues and connects policy makers with academics, community partners, and people with lived experience. 

This episode features Ali Duale – MLA for Halifax Armdale and former refugee from Somalia, Dr. Nicole Ives – Associate Professor of Social Work at McGill University, and Sherman Chan – Director of Family and Settlement Support at MOSAIC B.C., discussing the importance of newcomers’ sense of belonging, factors affecting belonging, and recommendations on how to improve belonging for newcomers to Canada. 

Recorded: 8/29/2022 
Published: 11/29/2022


The Refuge – Policy Matters: School Supports for Youth 

Welcome to Policy Matters, a special mini-series of The Refuge podcast that focuses on policy issues and connects policy makers with academics, community partners, and people with lived experience.  

Our guests in this episode include Dr. Andrea MacLeod – professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Alberta; Kathleen Vyrauen – co-chair of the Newcomer Education Coalition and Project Manager with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg; and Jayesh Maniar – English as an Additional Language and Newcomer Education Consultant for the government of Manitoba. The discussion covers the unique supports needed to support children and refugee youth at school. 

Recorded: 6/9/2022 
Published: 11/29/2022


The Refuge – Policy Matters: Why Collaboration Matters 

Welcome to Policy Matters, a special mini-series of The Refuge podcast that focuses on policy issues and connects policy makers with academics, community partners, and people with lived experience. 

This episode features a conversation between Dr. Howard Ramos – political sociologist and Chair of Sociology Department at Western University; David Cashaback – senior director for Settlement and Integration Policy at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); and Hanen Nanaa – Ontario regional advisor at the Liberal Research Bureau, in the Parliament of Canada, founder of Books, Art, Music Collective for Youth; and a former Syrian refugee. They talk about the importance of collaboration, what effective collaboration looks like, and offer recommendations on how to include people with lived experience in policy and program development.

Recorded: 1/18/2022 
Published: 11/29/2022

The Refuge Episode 9: Starting Over: Refugee Youth and Interrupted Schooling

Welcome to the ninth episode of The Refuge in which we discuss experiences of youth who arrive in Canada with interrupted schooling. What are the challenges of re-entering the school system? What supports are needed for youth?

Our guests include Anyieth Maduk Manyuon – who came to Canada from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya in January 2022. She was in her final year of Pharmacy in Medical College when she relocated and is now working while waiting to resume her education; Reuben Garang – Executive Director of Immigrant Partnership Winnipeg and former Policy Analyst and Community Outreach Advisor for the Government of Manitoba; and Susan Brigham – Professor in the Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), her research interests include immigration, diversity, adult and higher education, and gender.

Recorded: Thursday, September 29, 2022
Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2022


The Refuge Episode 8: Youth Involvement in Research & Community Programs

Welcome to the eighth episode of The Refuge in which we discuss the importance of involving youth in research and community programs. This episode speaks to researchers, community organizations, and service providers – anyone concerned with the settlement and wellbeing of youth with refugee experience.

Our guests for this episode include Fawziah Alkmaki – a PhD Candidate at Western University; Fawziah’s primary research interest is health and social inequalities in disadvantaged populations; Mahmoud Sayed – originally from Afghanistan, he came to Canada in 2015 and has been working with the Youth Outreach team at the YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs for 5 years; and Abdul Alsaidan – Child and Youth Settlement Manager at the YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs; raised in the Middle East, U.S., and Australia, Abdul believes that there is no “one size fits all” approach to successful newcomer youth programs.

Recorded: Thursday, May 19, 2022
Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2022


The Refuge Episode 7: Supporting the Mental Health of Refugee Youth

For Mental Health Week, we’re bringing greater awareness to the mental health challenges often faced by refugee youth. Pre-migration experiences—including separation from or loss of family—often result in PTSD, depression and anxiety; stigma and discrimination can compound these issues.

Our guests on this episode are Redab Al-Janaideh – postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, her research focuses on refugee and migrant children’s development, education, and wellbeing; Jean de Dieu Basabose – researcher for Whole Family Lab at the University of Waterloo who uses his refugee experience to promote community-based research on resilience, integration, and wellbeing of refugee families; and Gemechu Abeshu – postdoctoral fellow at York University. Originally from Oromia in Ethiopia, his research focuses on refugee integration, internally displaced persons, emerging forms of political power, and conflict and resolution systems.

Our guests offer perspectives on the most common mental health challenges faced by youth with refugee experience, coping mechanisms, and how to support refugee youth’s wellbeing.

Recorded: Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Published: Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Refuge Episode 6: Five Years of Settlement: Syrians in Canada

The arrival of a large number of Syrian refugees between 2015-2017 was transformative for Canada. In this episode of the Refuge, we reflect on what we have collectively learned from the experience of Syrian refugees settling in Canada, and how we can apply this knowledge to support future groups of refugees, including 40,000 Afghan refugees who are currently being resettled.

Joining us for this discussion are Thomas Soehl – Associate Professor of Sociology and the Canada Research Chair in International Migration at McGill University and the Principal Investigator of the Tajribati-Canada project, a study of about 2000 Syrians who resettled in Canada; Mounir Nasri – a social entrepreneur in the newcomer inclusion and settlement sector in Toronto who built several social impact projects in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq prior to his arrival in Canada under the Private Sponsorship program for Syrian refugees; and Marwa Khobieh – interim Executive Director of the Syrian Canadian Foundation and a community researcher at York University with the Centre for Refugee Studies. 

Recorded: Thursday, December 9, 2021 1PM ADT
Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Refuge Episode 5: COVID-19: Refugee Families' Challenges and Resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged all of us; however, for many refugee families, social isolation, online learning, and stay-at-home orders compounded challenges they were already facing. At the same time, the resilience of refugee women and youth was apparent as they created opportunities to contribute to their communities.

In this episode of the Refuge, we are joined by Anwar Alhjooj – Program and Intercultural Coordinator at Montreal City Mission, Hala Younis – a 15-year-old Palestinian living in Montreal, Quebec, and Stacey Wilson-Forsberg – Associate Professor in the Human Rights & Human Diversity Program at Wilfrid Laurier University and Director of the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa. 

Guests share their personal experiences and research about this challenging time, as well as recommendations for how to better support youth and their families as we recover and move forward together.

Recorded: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 5:30PM ADT
Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Refuge Episode 4: Here and There: Language Learning and Wellbeing in Canada and Germany

Welcome to the fourth episode of The Refuge!

Coinciding with the start of the new academic year, we continue our discussion of refugee children’s wellbeing and language learning; focusing on supports available in schools and communities. We also cast an eye on the differences and similarities between refugee experiences in Canada and Germany. 

Joining us to share their perspectives are Katrin Lindner – Associate Professor at the German Department of the University of Munich, Becky Chen – Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and Monique Gagne – Research Associate with the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia. 

Our guests offer a range of recommendations on how schools, teachers, and government policies can better support refugee children and their families.

Recorded: Tuesday August 10, 2021 
Published: Thursday September 23, 2021

The Refuge Episode 3: Learning the Language: Supporting Refugee Youth Learning English

Welcome to the third episode of The Refuge in which we discuss learning English as a new refugee in Canada, and how language affects and is in turn affected by integration. 

Our guests are Fida Alfandi, a youth who arrived in Canada from Syria five years ago, Mazen El-Baba – founder of H.appi a non-profit that works with children who have experienced adversity, and Dr. Johanne Paradis – professor of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. 

With the new academic year just around the corner, we hear from our guests about how teachers and schools can support refugee youth as they return to the classroom.

Recorded: Thursday September 2, 2021
Published: Tuesday September 7, 2021

The Refuge Episode 2: Transitions: Settlement, School, and Work

Welcome to the second episode of The Refuge in which we are joined by Praise Mugisho, a former refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo now living in Nova Scotia, Dr. Ifeyinwa Mbakogu, a social worker and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, and Dr. Erika Goble, Associate Dean of Research at NorQuest College.

In this episode, we talk about the experiences of refugee youth as they navigate the transition of settlement, school, and employment. Listeners will hear about some of the challenges refugee youth face at school and work, including racism, language barriers, and more.

Our guests also offer suggestions on how service providers and employers can better support refugee’s integration, careers, and wellbeing.

Recorded: Tuesday, July 27, 2021 
Published: Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Refuge Episode 1: Welcome To The Refuge

Welcome to The Refuge, the newest podcast from the Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition (CYRRC).

In this introductory episode, we are joined by Michael Ungar, CYRRC’s  Scientific Director, Simone Chia-Kangata, CYRRC’s Project Manager, and Nabiha Atallah, Advisor of Strategic Initiatives at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).

Our guests talk about what CYRRC does to support the integration of refugee children and youth, and give listeners a sense of what to expect from the podcast.

Recorded: Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Published: Thursday, August 12, 2021