Who are we?
The Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative is a registered community Workers Co-operative with a mandate to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate support to immigrant and refugee families from around the world. We are a grassroots, hands-on organization that believes in fostering genuine, empowering and often long-term relationships with our clients, communities, and each other in order to increase the health of individuals, families, and communities.
We are seeking Multicultural Health Brokers for part time work among the South Asian community in Edmonton. Strong 1st language skills in Punjabi (ideal), Hindi or Urdu are desired.
The role of this Broker will be to provide the appropriate parenting, health, and holistic family support to South Asian communities - families and children in crisis, facing complex life circumstances without key supports. The support that a Broker provides includes building one-on-one relationship with clients, walking side by side with them as they navigate through individual challenges - whether it’s health, housing, economic, or relational challenges. Brokers also engage in community development and advocacy for systematic change.
Who are you?
Working as a Cultural Broker is both challenging and very rewarding work. It requires a warm heart, a clear mind and a deep willingness to learn not just new skills, but about yourself and others. To be able to flourish in the work, you will need to be able to tolerate uncertainty, ambiguity, and what might feel like chaos at times. These are some of the qualities you need to have:
- You are able to relate to and honour multiple perspectives and ways of seeing the world and you are not afraid of having your own beliefs and values challenged.
- You love to reflect on your work and yourself, able to share your strengths and limitations, successes and mistakes openly with your colleagues.
- You allow yourself to be vulnerable at times and you are not afraid of asking for guidance.
- You have a maturity and ease that enables you to relate to many different kinds of people without forming quick judgments or needing instant solutions. When you work with individuals, you are able to be empathetic without taking sides, continuing to hold the well-being of the family/community that they are a part of central. Capable of recognizing the deeper meaning and reason for what is being said as well as not said.
- You are able to work with complex situations that have no easy quick answers without getting easily frustrated or over-whelmed. You can take joy in small changes and improvements or simply in establishing a trusting supportive relationship with another.
- You are able to think creatively and find solutions that are sometimes out of the box. You’re able take initiative and trust yourself to work without rigid guidelines. You value the spirit of a guideline rather than applying guidelines rigidly.
- You know that caring for yourself is important and you are committed to finding ways of establishing health on many levels in you - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
We are hoping you have the following experiences and abilities:
- Have lived in South Asia, ideally a Punjabi speaking region, perhaps with family/friend connections that are still visited, which could facilitate deeper cultural interpretation, which is often as, or more important than language interpretation.
- Experience in working with Child Welfare and/or other community support systems would be an asset.
- Having an understanding of the traditional beliefs, faiths, values, and practices, including community values, family relationships and parenting practices of diverse aspects of South Asian community – and of how to honour and work around these if/when they are different from your own or what are generally accepted in the Canadian context.
- Being familiar with various pre-migration experiences of immigrant families out of South Asia.
- Being able to act as a cultural bridge between immigrant families and mainstream Canadian organizations, such as schools, hospitals, law courts, and child welfare services. This requires both the ability to establish trusting, respectful relationship with assorted South Asian families and listen to, understand, interpret and articulate their stories to the mainstream.
- Being able to assess and understand your own cultural identity and value-base.
- The ability to speak and write fluent English.
Ideally you would have the following knowledge or qualifications:
- Intimate knowledge of the South Asian community in Edmonton, particularly the Punjabi speaking Community.
- Knowledge of local health and social services, including our child welfare system.
- Some training in or knowledge of holistic family support and casework.
- Knowledgeable of family violence indicators, the dynamics of such on the community and tools for support.
- Familiarity with the issues facing immigrant and refugee children, youths, and families.
What will you do?
Brokering work is varied and you will be working in many different environments and contexts. You can expect to be surprised and challenged daily. Here are some aspects to the work:
- Responding quickly to referrals for cultural brokering and holistic family support. This will involve doing home visits to the family communicating directly and in person with all family members, especially parents. In order to help facilitate this, a valid drivers license and your own vehicle are considered an asset.
- Providing bicultural parenting education and assistance.
- Connecting the families to needed resources and services within Edmonton; these will cover the full range, from services that meet the basic needs to those that enrich the functioning of the family.
- Organizing and facilitating groups for parents wanting peer support and the chance to learn from each other.
- Working with counseling colleagues to provide emotional and mental health support to families
- Providing advocacy and individualized assistance to those families in contact with a Child and Family Services (CFS) social worker.
- Entering information into our client data system (CASIS) in a timely manner.
- Participating in the life of the Cooperative by attending monthly team and Cooperative meetings, working with other Brokers as a valued team member, and growing in your capacity for this work with the professional development opportunities that will be provided.
What will we do for you?
A few of the most common things that people who work for the Co-op say is that they feel accepted for who they are, that they feel trusted and able to find their own way to work creatively and that they love the sense of personal growth in the work.
We actively foster a work environment that is caring, egalitarian in tone, and respectful of your creative energy. We also believe in on-going professional development and gathering together in ways that fosters support and learning from each other.