MCHB Co-op Celebrates 20 Years

Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative continues to help bridge the gaps for newcomers.

  • Photo taken at the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative’s 20th Anniversary celebration on June 4, 2018. RawGie Photography

Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op (MCHB Co-op) began in the 90s as a three-year demonstration project of the local public health department. It was a major initiative in terms of the recruitment and training of women leaders from the top six newcomer communities at that time to take on the work of promoting maternal and infant health. The overall goal was to enhance the health and well-being of culturally diverse families, and to foster their efforts at building community so they could thrive and actively contribute to society.

This year, MCHB Co-op is turning 20 as a unique workers co-operative. It has currently 90 passionate and skilled “cultural brokers” (multilingual community workers) from 25 immigrant and refugee communities. Many of them know first-hand the social, economic, and language difficulties that immigrants and refugees face in their settlement and integration journey. Over the years, MCHB Co-op has become an important relationship bridge between newcomer families and the formal systems of health, early learning and education, and children’s services in Edmonton.

MCHB Co-op began calling McCauley home in the early 2000s. Originally operating out of a house on 97 Street and 109 Avenue, it became a partner/tenant of Edmonton Intercultural Centre (McCauley School site) four years ago. We have since enjoyed being active participants in or initiator of community enriching events and activities, such as the “pop-up” teahouses, Burst – Multicultural Bazaar, and Heart of the City.

Being a workers co-operative, MCHB Co-op actively pursues or supports social enterprises of different sizes. Earlier this year, the team at MCHB was awarded a grant from Alberta Status of Women for a partnership with CUP (Commuting University Partnership) and the U of A Alumni. The goal of this partnership is to support immigrant and refugee women in pursuing micro enterprises.

MCHB Co-op itself operates two social enterprises:

1. Equi-tea Multicultural Catering, which is an excellent choice for ordering tasty multi-ethnic dishes at a great price for office or community events for the coming holiday season.

2. Intercultural Competence Training program, which will be presenting a public workshop series of three topics per month in November and December: Foundations for Intercultural Practice, Pre-migration Context Role Changes and the Influence of Culture on Refugee Families, and PTSD, Trauma, and Strategies to work with affected Newcomer Individuals and Families. For more information about the ICTP, or to book a training session, please contact: mchb.ictp@gmail.com. You can also follow our Public Workshop Series on Facebook MCHB Intercultural Competency Training Workshops.

For more information about the MCHB Co-op, we invite you to visit “www.mchb.org”:https://www.mchb.org

Article provided by the MCHB Co-op.

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