Punjabi Community Health Services Calgary
Our Story Why We Exist
A Wife's Story: "Canada was my dream. I don’t know how this dream turned into a nightmare for me. Married 12 years ago in India, I was left behind to raise two young sons when my husband immigrated to Canada. Finally when I joined him 5 years later with my children, my life turned upside down. With the stress of settling in a new country and the financial difficulties, his alcohol binges increased, and the occasional casual slaps escalated to violent beatings.
I covered the bruises or avoided being seen. At first it was only me, but then also my older son. I didn’t speak English, knew few people, and felt as though there was nowhere to turn. I didn’t know the ways or systems here, and they don’t understand my culture. What was I to do?
I could not go back. My mother always said “from now on your husband’s home is your heaven or hell, you have to live there”. One night his anger was so fierce, I ended up in hospital. The police asked if I wished to press charges. But what would I do then, who would support me? What would my family say? How would we manage – with my sons in school, and no income and no one to turn to ? What do I do, where do I go?
Then a lady at the hospital connected me with PCHS. The PCHS worker came to see me at the hospital, and soon my life started getting better. I felt connected, understood, supported and stronger.
The case worker was Punjabi and I could speak openly in my language! She helped arrange counselling for me, my husband and my sons. I made friends at the Womens Support group, and my husband said he enjoyed and learnt so much at the Parenting classes, even about anger management! He said he was not as stressed since taking the financial literacy course, and I am happy he is attending the AA meetings. I now feel I have many friends and my children will have a good life in Canada …"
A Father's Story: "I didn’t understand why Child Services knocked at our door, or what allowed them to walk through our home and take our daughter away, or declare us “unfit” parents.
We are hard working parents and have been in Canada for 10 years. We want to give our children a good life! I work two jobs and my wife works one job. Sometimes we are both not home in the evenings, when the children come home from school. Then our older son who is 15 years old looks after his younger sister, that is the culture, as the older brother he protects and looks after his little sister. And then, government officers took our daughter away. They said she complained to her friends and the school teacher that her brother hits her and was mean to her. That is her brother, why would he do that? They tell us our son said that he hated looking after her.
They say that we will need to meet with a case worker and an investigation will be launched. How will I get the time off from my work? I may lose my daughter ? Where did we go wrong, what did we not understand, how do we get our daughter back?
That is when we approached PCHS, and they helped us understand the Canadian laws, and worked with Child Services to help get our daughter back home. We have been attending the Punjabi Parenting classes, and have learned new skills to support our children, to teach them to be resilient and strong, to succeed in Canada. Our son now also volunteers with PCHS. We are thankful we have been able to keep our family together."
Twilight Tears: “I am 78 years old, I live with my son in Canada, as a widower, I am very lonely. My grandchildren only speak English which I do not understand, my son and daughter in law are at work all day and in the evenings they have very little time for me. I cannot visit my friends or go to the senior centre as my knees are bad and I cannot walk so far to the bus stop. If I complain, they tell me ’what more do you want, we called you here didn’t we.’
However since my children and grandchildren have begun attending the PCHS parenting class my life feels better. My grandchildren ask me to teach them Punjabi, then sometimes even ask about India and what it was like for me growing up.. Although they don't understand all I say, I like very much that they are trying to learn Punjabi, and someday ..."
At PCHS we help support our clients in their own language and within our common cultural context; we teach families skills and tools to strengthen relationships and succeed in Canada. We help them navigate and connect with the appropriate community resources and agencies.
Our Impact What We Do
PCHS Calgary offers supportive counselling to South Asian clients and their families: through assisting clients to find effective solutions within their own cultural context; help them identify and navigate access to appropriate Community Resources; and provide clients ongoing support post treatments or professional counselling sessions.
PCHS Calgary recognizes South Asian cultural norms of defining illness, acknowledging social problems and seeking resolution, and leverages these understandings to deliver services in a culturally appropriate manner for optimal effectiveness for its clients.
Our Vision: Thriving Communities
Our Mission: Fostering Partnerships To Promote Happy Healthy and Succesful Families
- Understand the goals and challenges of the South Asian community in Calgary.
- Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and supports to promote healthy, happy and successful families.
- Develop equitable partnerships with Calgary community agencies to foster collaborations for thriving communities.
Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS) Calgary was established as a standalone not for profit society, modeled on the very successful Punjabi Community Health Services operating in Ontario since 1990 (http://www.pchs4u.com/). It has operated a succesful monthly Womens Support Group program launched in 2013. In April 2015 PCHS rolled out a well received and growing whole-family (parents, grandparents & children) bi-monthly Parenting program, in response to community needs assessments identified through a Family Forum event. While PCHS has been providing supportive counselling related to alcohol, drug addictions and domestic violence for some families and referrals to appropriate agencies, the agency is on target to roll out a more extensive trained volunteer based supportive counselling program for June 2015.
PCHS Ontario is a not for profit charitable organization and is a pioneer in the cross-cultural understanding of providing health and social services in our diverse Canadian population. PCHS Ontario’s Integrated Holistic Service Delivery Model incorporates a foundational understanding of the differences between South Asian and Western cultures, differences which impact the effective delivery of social and health care services.
Our Programs How We Do It
PCHS recognizes that a culturally competent system of care acknowledges the importance of culture, assessment of cross-cultural interactions, vigilance toward the dynamics resulting from cultural differences, expansion of cultural knowledge, adaptation to meet culturally unique needs which then result in providing better outcomes for our South Asian clients. PCHS incorporates this Integrated Holistic Service Delivery Model into our Supportive Counselling program which is run by trained community volunteers. This model serves the “collectivist” family-centric South Asian cultures wherein the clients and his/her family also become a client.
Support and skill building are provisioned to the whole family, unless the client decides not to have the family involved. Thus orientation, intake and care plans incorporate rapport building with the client and the family. We believe these culturally competent services are needed to address service delivery from an equity perspective, by increasing the accessibility and the quality of services for diverse populations, thereby producing better outcomes.
- The PCHS Parenting Program provides appropriate linguistic and cultural world-view education to help bridge the cultural gap between South Asian immigrants and their children schooled and raised in Canada. It is based on a holistic approach of providing parenting education to the entire family including children. The program addresses concerns of child-rearing faced by families that can at worse escalate to issues of domestic violence, mental health and addiction. This program aims to mitigate and prevent high-risk family strife situations and government agency intervention; and to create harmony within the nuclear South Asian family.
- The SAHARA Womens Support Group is run by community women to support, mentor and empower each other and fellow South Asian women, in a private and comfortable setting.
- PCHS facilitates a South Asian Professional Inter-Agency Collaboration which meets with community members to develop partnerships, to address areas of need identified through our Community Needs Assessment
Our Requests What You Can Do
There are many ways to be involved at Punjabi Community Health Services Calgary.
1. Volunteer Volunteers are provided training in supportive outreach and counselling services through engaging the whole family, the South Asian community & spiritual resources, family physicians, and any needed main stream agencies to best support the clients and their families. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, be part of a team, share your experience, learn new skills and develop lasting friendships.
2. Donate PCHS Calgary relies on charitable contributions to continue our mission to help families and individuals achieve support, hope and well-being through providing supportive counselling in the areas of Mental Health, Family Conflict, Parenting and Inter-generational issues and Inter-cultural conflict.
3. Support a Program PCHS Calgary hosts a monthly Womens Support Group and a bi-monthly Parenting Program . It welcomes individuals, families, community groups and businesses to support any of these programs, through donations for food and supplies, or in kind.
4. Support an Event PCHS Calgary welcomes groups in the community to host an event and donate the proceeds to us. Families, community groups and businesses can host golf tournaments, walks, dances, and many other activities to raise money to support PCHS Calgary’s work.
For more information on how you can help support our vision of fostering Thriving Communities, please visit our website. You support is greatly appreciated.