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Julia Huterer, a settlement counsellor at COSTI Immigrant Services, came up with the idea to create a multicultural Bosnian group. She organized the first informal meeting of Bosnian immigrants in November 2003. There were over 20 people in attendance, most were seniors from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other parts of former Yugoslavia. Everyone agreed that it would be beneficial to continue to meet. Our goals were to help each other, share experiences, and socialize. It was also very important for members to get help with integrating into Canadian society.
The group soon grew to over 70 people, and in March of 2005, Social Development Canada under the New Horizons for Seniors Program, gave us money for a project called A community Approach to Reducing Isolation of Bosnian Seniors and their Friends. At this point we decided to become a registered non-profit organization called the Multicultural Association of Bosnian Seniors and their Friends. We wanted to represent and help vulnerable and isolated seniors, most of whom have a limited knowledge of the English language and are experiencing cultural, emotional and financial hardships.
In January of 2007, we received a second grant from Social Development Canada for the Promotion of Bosnian Multicultural Heritage: Seniors Sharing their Knowledge project. This grant allowed us to start new projects such as the Bosnian Community Garden, Bosnian Choir and Bosnian Heritage workshops.
From 2008 to 2010, we received two more grants for projects entitled Seniors Becoming Leaders in Community Gardening and Computer Literacy Training for Bosnian Seniors and Friends".
In 2011, the Government of Canada gave us funding for a project called Promoting Education and Community Awareness of the Aging Process to Reduce the Risk of Isolation amongst Bosnian Seniors". We have three conferences planned for this year, all dealing with issues that are very important to seniors: Pensions and Retirement Strategies; Recreation and Culture; and Steps toward Sustainability.
The Association currently has over 140 members. We meet at COSTI Corvetti Education Centre from November to April, and in our Community Garden from May to October.
For more information, including how to join us, please contact:
President: S. Julia Huterer 416-274-1747 [email protected]
Garden Co-ordinator: Milenko Manojlovic 416-231-4698