Ngozi (not her real name) is a refugee claimant single mother with three children who arrived in Canada about one year ago. She is in a Welcome Group match with five women volunteers for six months. Ngozi shares her thoughts on remote social support with Together Project Co-Director, Anna Hill.
How often are you connecting with the Welcome Group volunteers? We connect over WhatsApp video twice a week on Tuesday and Wednesdays. But I also reach out and connect with the volunteers in our WhatsApp chat as needed.
What kind of support are the volunteers providing? The volunteers have been really amazing. They have helped me in every aspect of my life. In terms of finding work, they are helping me with my resume, mock interviews, and finding employment sites and postings in my profession. They have also really helped me with my kids in terms of supporting their school work and finding online activities for them. They are part of my social life as well.
What do you think are the successes and challenges of connecting with volunteers remotely instead of in person? The only challenge I see is that meeting online is more impersonal than the feeling you get when you are with someone in person. It’s harder to connect the person to the voice and face. But I don’t think this problem has really affected our connection. The volunteers are so responsive and they help me attend to whatever issues I am facing. I would say that connecting remotely is not a big challenge.
Has the Welcome Group program made a difference for you or your family in some way? Overall, it has been an amazing journey with the volunteers. It has made a very positive impact in my life. They have given support in every way beyond what I even thought was possible. I was not sure what to expect and they have exceeded my expectations.