Social Service Agencies in Calgary Reach Out to Sikh Community

July 31, 2006

Source: Calgary Herald

On July 31, 2006 the Calgary Herald reported, "When some Calgary Sikhs came to their cultural centre unsure where to turn to for help with job, addiction or counselling issues, those in charge weren't sure where to direct them either. On the other side of the equation, social service agencies in the city felt that despite a need in the Sikh community, members weren't accessing the services available to them -- services often available in Punjabi. 'The community people didn't know where to go,' said Harmandeep Singh, joint secretary of the Dashmesh Cultural Centre's management committee. 'I think people wanted to talk to someone, but we're not professionals.' He said that in the seven months he's been involved with the committee, they've received requests from individuals or families at least twice a week. So when Amrit Kaur, a liaison with the Calgary Counselling Centre, approached the centre's board about how best to educate the community on available services, it welcomed the idea of the temple, or gurudwara, hosting information sessions. Singh said it's a good fit, since every Sunday up to 20,000 people attend the cultural centre... On this Sunday, for the first time, the counselling centre, the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association and the Calgary Workers Resource Centre set up tables in front of the gurudwara in the city's northeast, handing out information and answering questions as people entered and left the temple. Next weekend, those three agencies and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission will be on site. 'For those that don't know what to do or where to go, this is a way of letting them know,' Kaur said."