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Our Home and Native Land

Sep 25, 2019

Canada is bilingual. That means that no matter where you go in this nation, you have the right to express yourself in English or French. But think of the difficulties you would have moving to a place where no one spoke your language. That is the difficulty that many Francophones face when they move to central Alberta.

We happen to live in a part of the country in which almost everything is communicated in English. Such a situation can be difficult to handle for someone who doesn’t speak the language. We need to make sure that these circumstances do not dissuade anyone from moving freely to such places. We are bilingual everywhere in this country. That is one of the things that makes our culture more rich.

In Red Deer, we now have an organization to support Francophones as they settle in central Alberta. It is called Cite des Rocheuses.

“Our mission is to offer settlement and orientation services,” tells Laurene Wibina, Settlement Counsellor at Cite des Rocheuses. “As well as practical information for newcomers who just speak French, whether from other countries or here in Canada.”

The goal is to make those who settle in Red Deer feel part of the community. Wibina explains the importance. 

“I think every person has a right to be free, and to express themselves whether you speak English or French. Canada is bilingual but in this part of the country, we don’t really speak French, so I think it’s really important for Francophones to feel like, ‘I think I might move there because I can find people to help me just speak French’.”

The Cite des Rocheuses offers many programs to help newcomers integrate into our community. These include, but are not limited to:

Personal support for such things as filling out forms, giving information and helping with getting children set-up in schools.

Workshops that help, amongst other things, studying for Canadian citizenship examinations.

Informal meetings with fellow Francophones to help them feel welcome.

Free language classes for refugees and Permanent Residents.

Assisting those who have accomplished Permanent Residency before they arrive in Canada, and much more. Cite des Rocheuses is funded by the Government of Canada through Immigrant, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

“The first step is to bring people together,” explains Wibina. “To orient them and make it feel like home.”

Although the organization is government-supported, it still needs volunteers to operate its services. As this is a newer service to Red Deer, anyone who speaks French or is Bilingual is encouraged to help if they have the time and availability.

For those that are interested, Cite des Rocheuses is having a grand opening on the 25th of October at 4 PM at #11-5560 45th Street, here in Red Deer. It will be a great time and place to see if a position volunteering for the organization is right for you. Many people could really use your help. 

For more information, please call: (403) 681 2906, or drop by the centre: #11-5560 45 Street, Red Deer, AB, T4N 1L1

 Visit their website: www.citedesrocheuses.com



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