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Somalis, Jews team up in Toronto

Somalis in Canada, a relatively new immigrant community, is getting help for a more veteran immigrant group of Canadians: Jews.

The Toronto Star reports on the unusual partnership between the Canadian Somali Congress, the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto and the Canadian Jewish Congress. The program is the brainchild of the Canadian International Peace Project, which brings together diverse groups to work on peace, security and development projects.

A first-generation Somali Canadian immigrant, Toronto law student Ayan Hersi didn’t know whom to turn to for advice and help pursuing her career.

But an innovative program, announced yesterday, is expected to give the 27-year-old woman and youth from her 250,000-strong community – one of Greater Toronto’s and Canada’s most impoverished – a needed lift by matching them with mentors from the more established Jewish community.

“Our generation is still young and the future is in our hands. Unlike others, we can’t call so and so and ask for help,” said Hersi, who has an undergraduate degree in equity studies, political science and African studies, and is pursuing a law degree at University of Toronto.

“We always have to go outside the community for help,” she added. “I am the first in my family to have graduated from a university, and studying law.”

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