Vancouver-built app helps new immigrants find their footing in Canada

Click to play video: 'New Vancouver-built app helps new arrivals'
New Vancouver-built app helps new arrivals
WATCH: A new app launched by a Vancouver-based non-profit organization aims to make it easier for new arrivals to connect with the services they need. Nadia Stewart reports – Mar 28, 2019

A new app designed by a Vancouver-based non-profit is looking to make settling in Canada easier for new immigrants.

Arrival Advisor is a mobile app built by PeaceGeeks that provides information for newcomers, connecting them with settlement services and resources.

PeaceGeeks fund development manager Patrick Estey said their research shows people need help connecting.

“One in three newcomers to Canada aren’t aware of the services available to them,” he said. “So that was really the emphasis around Arrival Advisor, was really filling that gap.”

WATCH: Made in B.C. app aims to help newcomers to Canada

Click to play video: 'Made in B.C. app aims to help newcomers to Canada'
Made in B.C. app aims to help newcomers to Canada

The first incarnation of the app was called Services Advisor, which was used to help refugees connect with services in Jordan, among other countries.

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A $750,000 grant from Google in 2018, coupled with money from the province, allowed them to transform that app into the one launching in B.C. this week.

Munifa Nasser Ahmed knows all too well just how tough settling in to life in Canada can be.

Since arriving in Canada from Saudi Arabia in 2017 — first settling in Toronto, then moving to Vancouver in 2018 — she said it hasn’t always been easy to find her footing.

“It was really frustrating,” Ahmed said. “I came with a lot of resilience to this country, so for me I survived way more things so, if you say no, I’ll just go and try again.

“But there is a point that you really feel lost and confused because you are in a new country.”

WATCH: (Aired March 24, 2017) Nadia Stewart reports on the initial idea of the app and the people behind its creation

Click to play video: 'New app helps immigrants find services'
New app helps immigrants find services

Ahmed’s experience made her the perfect consultant for the new app. Her insight — coupled with her tech skills — helped produce what 1,200 people have already downloaded.

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MOSAIC Family and Settlement Services director Sherman Chan said the app will ultimately help them cater to the specific needs of each individual newcomer.

Chan said the app would be helpful “particularly for immigrant women, youth, men and on LGBTQ2+ issues, so they can really focus in on in-depth work.”

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