Good morning. Bonjour, everybody.
My name is Mohamed Al-Adeimi, and I'm the director of settlement services at the South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre. The South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre is one of the largest neighbourhood resource centres that supports families in London.
I was contacted yesterday to be a witness with regard to the support and services that are available for the Yazidi women and girls, but I'll be speaking with regard to the support we put in place immediately after the Yazidi families who are survivors of Daesh came to our notice.
The honourable minister came to London and met with all the agencies to be equipped and ready for the families that would be coming to London. Immediately before their arrival, we put in place a kind of wraparound team with the support that we get through IRCC funding. We make sure that the settlement staff are aware of the atrocities and hardships that the Yazidi women and their families have undergone. On the arrival of the Yazidi families, we were aware that they were in the schools in the neighbourhood.
I'll be talking today about one family. The family consists of a mother with eight children. The first contact of the mom with the settlement worker in the school was in the summer before the school closed for summer vacation. The SWIS worker immediately talked to the mom, who was reluctant at the beginning, but with the help of the ESL teacher at the school, she was able to meet with her and listen to her complaints, through an interpreter, initially.
Later on, after understanding the difficulties that the mom was undergoing, and knowing that the kids also had a lot of distress that they'd been through.... We are lucky that we have strong partnerships with mental health agencies within our neighbourhood for the youth, as well as for the adults.
The first issue that the settlement worker started to work on was connecting the whole family with two agencies that provide mental health services for children below the age of 12 and also for youth: Vanier Children's Services and Craigwood. We also partnered with a project that is in London called the RBC Centre for the mental health of immigrants and refugees. We have been working with the London Health Sciences Centre for the past three years, and they are also in our centre. We connect those families who are having mild to severe mental health issues.
The other part of the service that we have put in place for addressing the mental health of the family is giving a chance for the mom to spend quality time and go shopping or meet with other women in the neighbourhood. We connected with many moms. It's a centre where they provide a day of respite for the kids to play and have fun, and the mom can also spend some time.
The families are also wait-listed with another agency dealing with mental health. It's called Family Service Thames Valley.
This is the area of mental health that we thought was essential to address from the very beginning. The other part is to deal with basic needs. The family is in an area where there are lots of services that are delivered in a holistic manner in a centre that runs over 85 programs and services. We feel that this mom, who has been through so much, is still struggling. It's similar to the same story that the previous witness just spoke about, and I don't want to repeat the same story.
We made sure that the issues of transportation, interpretation, and other basic needs that the whole family requires.... I'm sure that through IRCC, the RAP.... Initially, on arrival, they were provided with basic needs with regard to furniture and clothing, etc. As the winter started to get closer, they were connected to centres that we have been partnering with for the last 30 or 40 years—churches, faith groups—and also in the last two years, with other faith groups that have put together services to provide basic needs to refugees and immigrants.
We have also put in place...so that the kids get recreational activities. During the whole summer they were connected to the Boys and Girls Club, for example, and to the YMCA sports and day camps. The main issue that we faced initially was that we were not funded to support this family, but since we are already funded through the settlement workers in schools programs... also providing orientation and information as well as community connections. All of these services were already in place when we responded to the influx of the Syrians who came to London. London, as you know, has received one of the largest Syrian communities.