Charitable Choices: Olga Stachova of MOSAIC

Olga Stachova, CEO of MOSAIC, shares the organization’s 45-year commitment to supporting newcomers in Metro Vancouver. With services ranging from settlement aid to language programs, MOSAIC assists immigrants from 150 countries. Stachova, an immigrant herself, highlights MOSAIC as a vital support system for those adapting to a new country. We had the chance to catch up with her to find out more about what they do.

MOSAIC

Describe your charity/non-profit work in a few sentences

MOSAIC is a local immigrant-serving organization. For over 45 years MOSAIC has been supporting newcomers to Metro Vancouver through a wide range of settlement, language, employment, counselling, interpretation and translation services. MOSAIC serves newcomers from over 150 different countries regardless of whether they are in Canada on a permanent or temporary basis. MOSAIC also runs specialized programming for families with young children, youth, seniors, LGBTQI2S+ newcomers, victims of gender-based violence and those who may experience multiple barriers to building their lives here. MOSAIC is also one of the largest organizations in Western Canada responding to humanitarian crises and working with private sponsors to resettle refugees.

What problem does it aim to solve?

When someone arrives to a new country, no matter their immigration status, they are keen to settle, find a job, improve their language skills, understand local systems and integrate into the community. MOSAIC is here to be that support system so that at the end of the day we are enriching communities through services and advocacy furthering the success and sense of belonging of newcomers and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

When did you start/ join it?

Almost 6 years ago

What made you want to get involved?

I immigrated to Canada 25 years ago and experienced first-hand the challenges of navigating life in a new country. As a young mother, I benefited from the services and connections to community resources provided by MOSAIC, local family centres and Neighbourhood Houses. Having come with fairly good English-language skills and work experience abroad, I was very surprised at how hard it was to find meaningful employment and how much access to jobs depended on contacts and networks. I was fortunate to find mentors and champions who helped me build my career in the non-profit sector. When a leadership role at MOSAIC became available, I knew it was the perfect job – combining my lived experience and professional experience to make the integration process easier for those new to our country.

MOSAIC

What was the situation like when you started?

Back in 2018, Canada welcomed about 300,000 immigrants a year. A majority of MOSAIC’s clients at that time were immigrants who came through the economic immigration stream, as well as their family members. That picture started to change significantly in the consecutive years, due to the growing level of global conflict and subsequent forced displacement and migration. And while the attitude toward refugees and migrants has been changing in many Western countries, Canada has remained steady in our humanitarian commitments and has become a world leader in the number of refugees it welcomes every year.

How has it changed since?

We have seen significant annual increases in immigration levels, leading to 500,000 a year planned for 2025. We have also seen an unprecedented increase in those who come here on a temporary basis, whether international students or temporary foreign workers. The world has been shaken by unrest and conflicts, driving up the number of forcibly displaced individuals and the number of refugees around the world to an all-time high. Canada has stepped up its humanitarian role and MOSAIC has been serving and actively resettling increased numbers of refugees as well as those who come to Canada to seek asylum from persecution. MOSAIC has seen increased demand for our services and growing waiting lists, especially for language classes. The number of clients MOSAIC serves has more than doubled in the past five years.

How can readers help?

Donating to a specific or general program at MOSAIC is a great way to help. There are many ways to give, including supporting Afghan refugees, Diversity and Inclusion work, Private Refugee Sponsorship, Youth Programming, and the MOSAIC Family Centre which provides a daily hot meal to refugee families. More information here.

MOSAIC also offers fee-for-service such as our award-winning Interpretation and Translation services, and Language classes.

Do you have any events coming up?

The best way to know what’s going on is through the MOSAIC website Events calendar here. Many events are free to the community.

Two in particular that I would like to highlight are:

1. We’re giving away over $38,000 in scholarships and awards to newcomers as part of our annual MOSAIC Awards event. Applications are now open until April 30, 2024. Read the criteria and then apply or nominate someone here.

2. Save the date especially if you’re looking for a job. Our annual Job Fair is coming up on May 14, 2024, 930 am – 4 pm, at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. Last year, we had 3,400 job seekers have the chance to meet over 100 companies looking for skilled workers!

Where can we follow you?

Website

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op provides health services for individuals who face language and cultural barriers.

 

About Emilea Semancik 135 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: