Mississauga – Sukhmani Haven is a new not-for-profit organization that will advocate on behalf of and provide support for Ontario international students from the Punjab region. Launched in the city of Mississauga, Sukhmani Haven aims to provide emotional, financial, housing, and mental health support to Punjabi international students studying, working, and living in Peel Region and beyond. Sukhmani Haven will advocate for fair employment policies, protection from exploitation, funding for social infrastructure and other issues that affect the international student community.
“Sukhmani Haven is helmed by a team of legal experts, experienced social workers, rights activists, and diverse Punjabi and Sikh community leaders,” says Baljit Singh Sikand, Chair of Sukhmani Haven Board. “We have come together with a mission to improve the lives of international students in our community and hold all stakeholders accountable for their well being.”
Sukhmani Haven believes that international students have a crucial role to play in building Canada’s future. However, presently, international students need support, education and information about their rights. Each year, thousands of international students migrate from Punjab, India, to Ontario, Canada, in search of a brighter future. But for international students in Canada, the path to a better life is often riddled with financial strains, abuse, exploitation, and isolation.
“Almost 30% of international students studying in educational institutes in our region are from Punjab and many of them are young women from remote and rural parts of Punjab, says Deepa Mattoo, volunteer Member of the Board, Sukhmani Haven. “These female students are particularly vulnerable to abuse. They deserve safety and dignity regardless of their immigration status.“
Sukhmani is a Punjabi word meaning: “a rosary of comfort”. While the organization is based in Mississauga it aims to advocate on behalf of and support students across the province. For more information visit sukhmanihaven.com