Provincial funding allows Greater Victoria immigrants, refugees better access to counselling services

November 13, 2019

By Victoria News |

New funding from the provincial government aims to make counselling services more accessible to Canadians, both born residents and new arrivals.

Three years ago Sara Kharsa emigrated to Canada as a refugee from Syria. There she worked as a doctor, a profession she hopes to continue once her credits are reestablished in Canada. In the meantime however, she has taken on a new role as an Arabic interpreter at the Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (VICCIR), a role she knows is important from her personal experience.

“One of the difficult things we faced was just having somewhere to feel like we were part of the community,” Kharsa said. “I’m fortunate in that I could communicate in the English language, but other people have difficulty in communicating in English and that just gives them isolation.”

At VICCIR, counsellors are available for individuals, families, couples and children. There is also group therapy and different counselling styles, from somatic to art therapy and beyond, all offered at no cost to the clients.

These services can also be paired with an interpreter, with more than a dozen languages available including Arabic, Farsi, Tigrinya, Hungarian, Spanish and more. This allows for a fuller cultural context and understanding when talking about some of the most traumatic life experiences.

Read more


Back