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Niagara Falls
Sunday, March 3, 2024
Community partners join hands to help migrant workers

A new partnership was formed in Niagara-on-the-Lake thanks to migrant workers.

Each year, the NOTL safety committee hosts bicycle safety rodeos for migrant workers around the same time the Niagara Migrant Workers Interest Group holds its annual summer festival for migrant workers.

So it made sense to combine two events into one big festival, said Crystal Goicoechea, counselling support co-ordinator for Positive Living Niagara.

The summer festival for migrants will take place at Centennial Arena on Sunday, May 26, from 3 to 7 p.m.

The Niagara Migrant Workers Interest Group, comprised of non-profit community organizations, provides services to migrant workers in Niagara Region. The group has been holding its summer festival for migrant workers for 11 years.

“We used to do everything ourselves and same with the safety committee,” Goicoechea said in a phone interview. “So, this year we’ve been able to help each other out… (This year) it has been a little bit easier because of the partnership.”

“It just makes more sense to work together and make the event bigger and better,” said Catherine Wickabrod, chair of the NOTL safety committee.

The festival will feature a free dinner and a bike repair area run by a local volunteer group Bikes for Farmworkers. And 37 bikes will be raffled this year, the highest number so far.

The safety committee provided 15 of the bikes.

“The rules of the road are much different coming to Canada than what (the workers) are used to. We want to ensure they're riding the safe bikes,” Wickabrod told The Lake Report.

Entertainment will be provided by Enlace Community Link, a non-profit organization of Spanish-speaking volunteers, that will present Mexican folklore dancing.

About 15 organizations, such as Quest Community Health Centre, Justice Niagara, FCJ Refugee Centre and the Welland McMaster Family Health Team will have tables to provide information about their services for migrant workers and immigrants.

“We’re excited to kick off the summer and get to see everybody again,” said Goicoechea.

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