Kuwait Community

11 December 2023

Guelph Volunteer Placement Program

By Caleb Sanders

Overview

KAN has begun its Guelph Volunteer Placement Program, where we send our employees to local organizations in Guelph to support their operations. This benefits our Guelph community members and organizations by allowing them to cut labour costs and spend more on supporting the community directly. KAN has launched this program for a few reasons. Number one is that we want to be good stakeholders in the community. It also helps us learn different strategies, gain new perspectives on running a non-profit organization and get inspiration for programs we can use to support migrant workers in Kuwait. Change never happens if you only take your own advice and only listen to your own ideas; it takes a whole village of brilliant minds. We look forward to continuing this program and shaping it as it grows to be as effective as possible.  

10C Host desking

The first organization we support is 10C Shared Space, which we have already volunteered with six times since our first time in mid-October. Four of our sessions have been at the host desk, where our employees provide reception support and directions to people to the part of the building where their meeting or event is being held. We have also volunteered at 10C on their 15th birthday party and open house, where our employees assisted with cleanup and dishes in their industrial kitchen on both occasions. It is particularly beneficial for us to create a strong relationship with them as we have a 10C membership and utilize one of their subsidized office spaces. It is important for us to give back to them in this way to keep a healthy and strong relationship. Every time our employees have worked with 10C, they meet exponentially more community members and make priceless connections. At the host desk, they meet everyone who comes in and out of the building and learn about all the programs that 10C runs and facilitates. Working with the 10C staff and supporting their operations is always a pleasure!

IFSC

The other organization that KAN is volunteering with right now is the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Collective (IFSC). Our staff has volunteered to assist them with packing groceries and delivering free food to indigenous families and individuals all around Guelph who are in need. Each grocery bundle is about $380, mainly consisting of meat, veggies, and dried goods, many of which are indigenous ancestral foods, which is crucial to the reconciliation process. The genocide of Indigenous culture happened in many ways, including through the destruction of indigenous plants and foods. During our staff’s two volunteering shifts, they also packaged manoomin rice and vegetable soup, which are highly nutritious foods enriched with history and culture. In the second and third times working with IFSC, our staff also delivered food to vulnerable indigenous people around Guelph and packaged ancestral food for future deliveries. The third time, they also picked up donated fresh-grown produce from a non-profit in Guelph called Ignatius Jesuit Centre, which was cleaned and divided to be gifted to indigenous people in the following weeks. Our staff has worked and conversed directly with Carol, who plays an important role in IFSC, about other ways to get involved and set up a meeting to discuss this further.

This collective has much to teach about ethical practice, relationship building and collaboration, and we at KAN have much to learn. In the fourth collaboration with IFSC, after deliveries, our staff assisted in creating labels to organize their ancestral foods. These labels also have indigenous language on them for the foods. This is part of the initiative to reconcile indigenous culture. Our staff optimized the size of the labels to reduce paper waste, printed them, cut them and laminated them so they could be reused. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Canada Kuwait Aid Network.”

 

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