Temple on a Sunday afternoon, anyone?

Many immigrant families live on the West Island of Montreal. Some of them have moved several thousand miles from their roots to a new system of governance and health care. For many, when the time comes to seek healthcare, the needs are often urgent. There is no time to use a map to find the way. We need someone to take us to a safe destination.  

It is a bewildering experience, especially for tweens and teens that need help but their parents are also somewhat lost in the new system. 

We connected with many such families from India at the Hindu Mandir temple in Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO), a suburb of Montreal, on Sunday April 23, 2023.  In a community building session arranged by Pierre and Bianka from Aire ouverte, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, we presented information on how 12 to 25 year old youth can seek help without any referrals. 

Immigrant families are challenged not only by emotional difficulties at a new place, but are also daunted by the challenge of navigating a health system that they are not used to. Listening to their stories – especially the success stories of some of the youth who rose above these challenges – was heartening for our trio. 

This rewarding exchange finished with a superb meal of Indian rice, ‘kesari’ dessert and ‘dhal’ and invitations to engage in the temple’s summer school program.

By Lena Palaniyappan