(SomalilandPress)Ottawa’s Jewish community is volunteering to help young Somali-Canadians develop contacts in the city and break into professional fields.

The Canadian Somali Congress and the Canadian International Peace Project are holding an information and registration session this Saturday at Carleton University for Somali-Canadian university and college students and young professionals who might like to have a mentor.

The Canadian Somali-Jewish Mentorship Project in Ottawa is modelled on a successful program established in Toronto by Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress.

Hussen came up with the idea after running into a young Somali-Canadian with a degree in accounting who was working at Tim Hortons. The young man couldn’t get the practical experience he needed to get chartered because he didn’t know any accountants.

“We sent an open letter to all Canadian communities in Canada, and we said, ‘We are the Somali community in Canada. We have a deficit of professionals. And we have a surplus of people who want to be mentored,’” he said. “And the first and fastest community to respond was the Jewish community.”

Upon reflection, it’s not surprising that the Jewish community stepped forward, Hussen said, as Jews went through similar growing pains in decades past.

“They know what it’s like not to be able to get access to certain professions.”

Mark Zarecki, head of Jewish Family Services of Ottawa, said he has no doubt mentors will sign up.

He said there is a “streak” in the Jewish community of tikkun olam — a Hebrew term that means “healing the world.”

“And I think this fits that concept of helping other communities.” Zarecki said.

Hussen said he hopes one day Somali-Canadian professionals in turn will be able to take their turn mentoring a new generation of immigrants from somewhere else.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/05/03/ottawa-jewish-somali-mentorship.html?ref=rss#ixzz0mu4DOGCB
Source: CBC News