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'Timmins is a place where you could settle': newcomer

Ifeoma Kasimanwuna and her family moved to Timmins from Dubai last year

Ifeoma Kasimanwuna says newcomers are important and help enrich society.

Kasimanwuna is the local immigration partnership co-ordinator with the Timmins and District Multicultural Centre.

Together with her husband Everard and their three children, they moved to Timmins from Dubai in April 2021.

Everard, who works at Hard Rock Animal Hospital, was hired through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program.

The process of applying under the program was smooth, quick and interesting, Kasimanwuna says.

As a newcomer, Kasimanwuna says it’s important everyone feels welcome in the community. For the family, moving through the RNIP program and taking advantage of local immigration services was helpful and ensured their good reception upon arrival.

“I hope everyone gets that. I also hope people can enjoy what we did and take advantage of some services,” she says. “Immigrants aren’t bad people. Newcomers are very much important in society. We all help enrich society. Diversity is a very good thing.”

Kasimanwuna was born and raised in Delta State, Nigeria. She studied mass communications as it was always something she’s loved and wanted to do. She took extra courses in presentation and announcing in radio and TV.

Her first job was in the banking sector. Then she taught announcing and presentation in radio at a polytechnic. After that, she worked as an on-air personality on the radio.

What Kasimanwuna enjoys about working on the radio is lighting up someone’s day, giving good information and being able to entertain people.

“You’re adding the value by setting the mood for the day. Or giving the information they need that’s helpful to them. Being able to educate them on certain things happening,” she says. “It’s just a beautiful experience.”

Kasimanwuna knew Everard through her older brother, as Everard was his close friend. They got married and when Everard got a job in Dubai, the family moved there.

While in Dubai, Kasimanwuna took courses in early childhood education and special needs education. With that, she was able to homeschool her children using a U.K. curriculum. It was interesting doing that, she reflects now.

When it was time to relocate to Canada, studying at home paid off as they didn’t have to wait for the children to finish the school year and it gave the family the flexibility they needed, Kasimanwuna says.

Moving to a colder country like Canada from a desert country was a big but a good change, she says, adding that Timmins is a place where you could settle.

“It has the basic things that you need. If you're not the one who's caught up with big city life, you will enjoy living in Timmins,” she says.

Kasimanwuna is passionate about communications, diversity and inclusion. She enjoys working at the multicultural centre, helping newcomers.

“What I do is something that I love and something that is helpful,” she says. “If you have never been a stranger and have never been a newcomer, you will not understand the importance of these roles in the society when someone steps in to help you navigate your way in a new community.”

She strives to pass down her culture and traditions to her three children, who are aged eight, five and one. No matter who we are or what we become, our culture will always define us, she says.

As parents of third-culture children, they try to balance the new and the traditional cultures, Kasimanwuna adds. Third-culture kids are children who grow up in a culture that is different from their parents’.

“Sometimes we evolve to create new cultures. We still have to, for the sake of our identity and sanity, preserve the old,” Kasimanwuna says.

Kasimanwuna doesn’t regret anything that has happened in her life. It’s like looking at a map when you’re done with the journey, she says. She sees there were dead-ends and she had to make detours but life has brought unexpected new openings.

“Things that seemed to be a disappointment in the past eventually became the heart of the instrument for new things to happen, a catalyst for new and better things. Even when then the direction didn’t seem good,” she says. “Our journey abroad was not easy but I’m grateful for everything. It’s all working out well.”

— TimminsToday