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Background

Latin American Outreach & Counselling

On Mondays and Thursdays, our downtown office is bustling with the sounds and smells one might normally associate with a fiesta.

Since 1998, Watari has been making in-roads into the Latin American community in the Downtown Eastside, seeking to provide support, health promotion, education, substance misuse counselling, counselling for temporary farm workers, and support around immigration issues.

Our Latin American Outreach position has used the community’s connection to music, food, and citizenship to engage individuals and families in health fairs, support groups, family groups, a community kitchen, and growing an urban garden.

Berta Perez has continued to create trust and build bridges within a community that has every reason to be cautious about seeking services. Many of the people supported in the program struggle with health and immigration issues and come from countries where civil war was a reality.

Community Garden

In 2010, a connection with the M.A.C. AIDS Foundation led to the creation of an urban community garden on the balconies of our East Hastings offices. Today, the community garden has multiplied into two urban gardens! These gardens are situated at Cottonwood, and Woodlands.
The community gardens are tended to by volunteers from our Latin American community group. Together, they provide fresh greens and herbs to the community kitchen for our community meals.

Latin American Community Kitchen & Support Group

The Latin American Community Kitchen program consists of a handful of volunteers that cook fresh, delicious, culturally appropriate meals for people in the community. Many of these people also volunteer with the community garden, and use many of the vegetables and herbs freshly grown from the garden.
Every Monday after cooking but before eating, these skilled volunteer chefs all sit together and participate in a group counselling session. This support group allows them to share about the country they come from and remain connected to their culture. Participants can also receive education through the support group in different areas including: health, Canadian law, English, and citizenship.

Emergency Community Support for Pregnant and Parenting Women

Thanks to a COVID-19 response grant from Vancouver Foundation, our Outreach Community Connector is able to provide support for undocumented pregnant and parenting women.
Through this program, we are able to assist undocumented pregnant and parenting women in many ways, including with getting access to essential medical services. We support women in every aspect through the process of obtaining medical care, including help with accessing the internet and proper technology needed, translating information, printing and faxing documents, completing paperwork, and providing emotional support. We will also help them with getting MSP coverage for babies.
Through this program we are also able to help families enroll their children into schools, and connect them with schools that have services with no fear. We are also able to provide vital items for pregnant and parenting women such as: diapers and formulas, food supplies, and a phone and SIM card. (A phone and SIM card are essential because the maternity clinic will only accept someone with a Canadian phone).
For more information about this program, please contact our Outreach Community Connector, Karina Villada, at 604-254-6995 or at karina@watari.ca

How can we help you or someone you know?

Counselling, Community Kitchen, Support Group, Family Group, Food Bank, and the Community Garden, are just SOME of the services we offer in this program!A
For more information on taking part in one of these programs please call Berta Perez at:
604-782-5084
or email her at: berta@watari.ca
or email Eloina Alberto at: eloina@watari.ca
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