Keeping your heritage alive: A word from our partners
Published June 2, 2021.
In this blog post, two of our partners share their heritage and how they are keeping it alive.
Phillip Eto, president of Nigerians Inspiring Development Organization Americas
Even though you may become fully embedded in your new community, it is important to hold on to the values that make you you, says Phillip Eto, president of Nigerians Inspiring Development Organization Americas (NIDOA). “One main value for Nigerians, is supporting family ties throughout life. We try to maintain the position of being our brother's keeper. We check in on friends and are there to lend support when needed,” says Phillip. “Another way we maintain our heritage is through our dressing styles and costumes when we get involved in programs and activities such as wedding ceremonies.”
This is especially important for immigrant families with children, he adds. “We teach these values to our children and encourage them to apply them as much as possible while not playing down the value of integration.” Some of the ways Phillip is keeping his family’s heritage alive include: “instruction, leading by example and encouraging younger generation to volunteer in community organizations as well as professional organizations.”
Sam Nammoura, co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group
Sam Nammoura, co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group in Calgary, shares the same sentiment: “It is very important to remember where we came from because diversity makes Canada stronger.”
For Sam, maintaining his Muslim/Arabic values and traditions is important. He keeps his heritage alive by “practicing my faith freely and celebrating our heritage through observance of festivals, and other means like ethnic foods, music and social gatherings (pre-pandemic).”
Although keeping your heritage should be priority, says Sam, it shouldn’t isolate you from being part of your host community. Integration into a new society is important and can influence quality of life for newcomers. You may face hostility from people who are ignorant or lack understanding of your values, admits Phillip, but hold fast to your treasured heritage. After all, it’s a priceless gift from past generations.
Although the pandemic has made it difficult to celebrate events together in person, we hope you will find unique ways to celebrate and keep your heritage alive today and every day. Zoom parties, virtual games and other creative ways can bring family, friends and the community together.
Join us throughout June as we celebrate the unique heritage of our clients, partners and Windmill employees, and the many ways immigration has benefitted our community, our economy and our country.