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In 2015 Silvia Dancose found herself at a crossroad and looking for an opportunity to do something good.
After family discussions, they decided to move back to her native Canada for 8 months where Silvia could engage in some professional development that could enhance her work as team leader of the Red Cross Pathways to Employment programme in Hamilton.
Soon after making the move, Silvia found herself caught up in one of the biggest media stories of 2015/16.
A changing administration brought about a change in refugee resettlement policy. New pathways were opening up for people fleeing war and persecution, particularly those from Syria and Iraq.
Canada soon became known globally for its refugee resettlement programmes and, as the global migration crisis reached unprecedented levels, Silvia decided she needed to do more.
Her work with Pathways to Employment meant she was well aware of how crucial finding a job can be to successful resettlement.
So Silvia volunteered her skill set to help former refugees and migrants draw up their CVs and develop interview skills.
“It was great working with employers in Canada, many of them were already aware of the situation migrants and refugees were facing and were willing to work with them,” she says.
It wasn’t just employers who impressed Silvia; she found a widespread positive attitude toward resettlement and a passion to make each refugee journey successful.
“The sheer scale of refugee resettlement in Canada is amazing,” she says, “and employees and volunteers who are working in the sector have so much enthusiasm and energy that they inject into what they do.”
Silvia spent a year in Canada and says the experience has been transformational professionally
“It has broadened my view and shown me that there's room for us to expand resettlement opportunities here in New Zealand,” she says.
“Other countries are doing what we do on a much larger scale and I think we can work toward that.”