Videos for newcomers help start difficult conversations

A pair of videos aimed at helping new immigrants talk about how to cultivate a healthy family life has seen great success in starting essential conversations.

The videos were created last year by REACH Edmonton and Newcomer TV and have been used by REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI) project coordinators at more than 50 presentations to classes of students learning English as a second language and newly-arrived parents attending newcomer information nights in Edmonton schools.

The videos focus more on visual messaging than on verbal communication, so that people with limited knowledge of English can still understand the message and participate in the conversation.

Focusing on building a healthy home life, parenting issues and how to find resources when newcomers are struggling with the stresses of adapting to a new country, the videos often lead to the group discussing their struggles together and sharing coping strategies with each other.

Because the participants are able to relate to each other’s immigration experiences, the students that have been in the country longer are able to encourage students who are newer to Canada to build a trusting environment for discussing healthy ways to address the many challenges that immigrants and refugees face.

The videos are effective in starting essential conversations among newcomers, and building connections between immigrant families in the community.

The videos can be viewed on REACH Edmonton’s YouTube page