HIPPY Halifax at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)

Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) helps immigrant and refugee women and families build a future in Nova Scotia.

ISANS opened their doors in 1980. Back then, they were known as the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA) and Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre (HILC). ISANS’s mission is to support immigrants with all of their settlement needs, and their programs benefit over 7,500 clients per year!

ISANS offers programs and services to help newcomers get settled, learn English, find employment, do business, and connect with their community. They also provide services to help people, organizations, and businesses be more welcoming and inclusive.

The HIPPY program started at ISANS in the fall of 2017. ISANS employs one HIPPY Coordinator and three HIPPY Home Visitors to serve HIPPY families in Halifax, Bedford, and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In the 2018-2019 program year the ISANS HIPPY program served 34 families with 38 children who have emigrated from 13 countries and speak 11 languages.

Insight into the HIPPY Program:

“HIPPY helped my entire family. Instead of watching TV and playing video games, now all of my children want to do the HIPPY activities. HIPPY really kept my family busy by learning and having fun.” HIPPY Mother, Halifax, NS

Success Story:

Fatuma is a Home Visitor at the HIPPY program at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. But her road to getting here was not easy.

When her opinions and political ideology got Fatuma into trouble during her high school years, Fatuma had to flee her home country of Ethiopia and could not complete her high school education. In 2004, Fatuma came to Halifax where she balanced studying English and working.

In 2008, Fatuma gave birth to her daughter, Maryam. It was a tumultuous time as she went through a divorce and fought for custody of her child. On top of this, Fatuma had also made the decision to return to school to finally acquire her high school diploma. Balancing full-time school with the responsibilities of a single mom – without relatives to babysit her daughter – was tough but, in 2014, Fatuma graduated, both an honours student and student of the year.

Despite her challenges and her many accomplishments, Fatuma explains that being a mother is the hardest thing she has ever done:

“Parenting is not easy. It’s not about the number of children I have, it’s about how I raise them. I want to raise a leader for the next generation.”

After her work as a Home Visitor for the HIPPY program, Fatuma hopes to one day become a social worker. She believes that her work as a Home Visitor will bring her one step closer to achieving this goal.

“This will give me an opportunity to understand what the real needs of the community are. That will allow me to be more able to help them as I will understand their background and culture more.”

For more information, please visit: https://www.isans.ca

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