Umoja Operation Compassion Society
Jamie Kopp
Program Manager

umojaoperation.ca

Umoja Compassion Society of British Columbia is a non profit society formed in 2002 to work with low income immigrants living in the British Columbia the lower mainland. Our society seeks to help promote unity, respect, and dignity among minority immigrants and refugees. New immigrants and refugees can find it difficult to integrate due to obstacles such as poverty, extremely low levels of literacy, unemployment, language barrier, isolation, feelings of hopelessness and depression. Through Umoja Family Services Center, we provide a variety of culturally sensitive programs to help families, children, and youth integrate successfully into their new social environment. Umoja currently offers First Steps:Hand in Hand program for refugee families with children 0-6 years old, an adult literacy and life skills class, beginner computer class, afterschool program for children 6-12 years old, Family outreach, Youth outreach, support and referral.

Umoja was founded by a couple (Amos and Edith Kambere) who immigrated from Uganda, Africa during a time of civil unrest causing them to leave their home and flee to a neighboring country, eventually coming to Canada as refugees. Through the personal experiences of the Kambere's and close connection with the immigrant community Umoja has continued to provide services to newcomers with a strong understanding of the challenges, struggles, barriers and triumphs that are experienced during integration. It is through this lens that Umoja continues to provide support and a welcoming place for education, skill development and community connection. As a community organization it is deeply important to be a participant in the Surrey LIP council in order to be involved in the work of the broader community in moving forward together and ensuring all newcomers feel at home and are empowered to achieve their dreams and goals.