Two UWinnipeg MDP students are Emerging Leaders’ Fellows

Aliraza Alidina, © UWinnipeg

Aliraza Alidina, © UWinnipeg

Two University of Winnipeg Master’s in Development Practice program students, Aliraza Alidina and Naomi Gichungu (alumna), are both recipients of the Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship (ELF). They are working on separate projects focusing on Indigenous-newcomer relations. Gichungu will collaborate with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc (IRCOM) ; and Alidina will work with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPCW).

Alidina will research and create a report on various initiatives that are in place in the settlement sector, Indigenous organizations, and other relevant platforms that foster dialogue, understanding, and awareness between Indigenous and newcomer communities. This work is a follow-up to work that he has already done with SPCW when he was completing his MDP practicum.

“The report will give a general inventory of initiatives in the city,” explains Alidina. “It will also include challenges faced by different organizations working towards this path. This report will also give an idea to different organizations on different initiatives that are taking place, which in turn can result in partnerships and critical introspection on the way forward.”

Shereen Denetto (IRCOM). Gichungu, photo supplied

Shereen Denetto (IRCOM). Gichungu, photo supplied

Alidina grew up in Burundi, a small country between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. He moved to Canada in 2009 for his education. Alidina speaks over five languages and has a special interest in co-ops as an alternative model. He believes that components of food co-ops can be tied to community development, an aspect of his current Development Practices Program. When he isn’t doing school work, he’s an avid watcher of documentaries and follows current affairs closely.  He’s also loves reading books on spirituality and politics.

Gichungu’s research will focus on creating opportunity to newcomer adults to learn about Indigenous peoples of Canada and to unlearn any dehumanizing stereotypes they might have come across; she will explore a commonality of spiritual and cultural systems among newcomers and indigenous peoples of Canada; and help support relationship building between newcomer adults and Indigenous people through community gatherings.

“Adult newcomers particularly are not presented with opportunities to mingle with Indigenous peoples,” said Gichungu. “This project will recruit 35 newcomer adults who reside at IRCOM and facilitate workshops on Indigenous peoples. The workshops will then be followed by a field trip to a community gathering in the North End where Indigenous youth leaders have created a space for community interactions.”

Gichungu is originally from Kikuyu community in Kenya. Her background is in Environmental Education and this has allowed her to work with various communities in Central Kenya and the Coastal region in areas of conservation. Her passion is to impart knowledge to communities and work with them to conserve their natural resources.

The Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship (ELF) is open to any young person in Winnipeg between the ages of 18-35 with a project idea that works with a local registered charitable organization to help build our community valued at $10,000 to help with the costs of developing and implementing the project. Through ELF, participants will come away with strong connections to community, agencies, and The Winnipeg Foundation.

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