Jean Luc Kalambayi: Newcomer keeps things in scope

August 15, 2023

By Zara Khurana, Communications Generalist

Driven by a desire for personal growth and community service, Jean Luc Kalambayi’s story highlights the importance of MOSAIC’s programs for guiding newcomers in Canada.

When Jean Luc came to Canada as a permanent resident, he knew he’d need to immerse himself in Vancouver’s culture and get connected to organizations and people that could help him achieve his goals.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean Luc had experienced the challenge of moving to a new country once before, when he’d left his home as a teenager to study in Cape Town, South Africa. He’d taught himself English while completing his undergraduate and master’s degrees and encountered an uphill climb to find internships and work in a country with crippling unemployment and a history of racism.

Canada, he had heard, offered a fresh start and endless opportunities. He was ready to work hard to achieve his two goals: to find employment and become an active member of his new community.

To achieve his first objective, Jean Luc sought help from MOSAIC’s Workplace Connections program. With mentoring and practical tools, he learned what it would take to fit in with the Canadian workplace culture. Sending resumes and reaching out to potential employers, Jean Luc wasn’t certain if he’d be able to build a career in his field of study. If needed, he was prepared to enroll in a certificate program at a local college to gain Canadian experience, but his concerns turned out to be unfounded.

Within a month of landing in Canada and building new connections, he’d landed a full-time job as a project coordinator at MAKE Projects Ltd., a construction project management firm.

In Africa, Jean Luc had learned the power of community building and knew he wanted to help solve some of the social issues people faced in his new home. He applied for SCOPE, (Social and Civic Opportunities: Pathways to Equity), a MOSAIC program that helps immigrants in Canada to positively impact their communities by engaging in social and civic initiatives such as boards and committees. As part of SCOPE, Jean Luc gained a better understanding of the issues people face in Canada, recognizing many similarities with those he faced back at home.

The SCOPE program is making a significant impact by encouraging immigrants to play an active role in their communities through social and civic initiatives, including participation in boards and committees. Through the Social and Civic Opportunities: Pathways to Equity program, immigrants are provided with a platform to engage meaningfully with their communities. Spanning four months, the program offers training, panel discussions, and access to the iCan Network—a peer-led platform connecting professionals with similar goals. Immigrants learn to voice their perspectives effectively within their communities and gain opportunities for involvement in decision-making processes.

A notable highlight of SCOPE is its focus on facilitating immigrants’ entry into boards and committees, aligning with the need for diverse representation in decision-making. By partnering with organizations valuing immigrant insights, SCOPE opens doors for immigrants to contribute to community-driven decisions. Ultimately, SCOPE empowers immigrants to take active roles in their communities, fostering a sense of belonging and meaningful participation.

Through SCOPE, Jean Luc’s passion for community service grew as he practiced being a part of social and civic initiatives, and as he learned to have a voice at the decision-making table. As a result, he was successful in his application to serve on the board of the Brightside Community Homes Foundation, a non-profit that helps provide housing for some of the city’s most marginalized.

He is thankful for the ways MOSAIC’s programs like SCOPE and Workplace Connections helped him get connected in Canada, providing him with tools and networks he may not have had access to on his own. His experience as a newcomer in Canada highlights the positive impact of MOSAIC’s programs.

Jean Luc’s story exemplifies how these programs empower newcomers to succeed and contribute to their new home in Canada.