Charity Spotlight – Reception House

Reception House, Waterloo Region, Charity Spotlight, Opencity Inc

Reception House has helped thousands of refugees settle in Waterloo Region over thirty years.

Here we explore the work of Reception House. They were featured as the charitable partner at the True North 2019 conference. We were pleased to share more about their amazing work.

A Warm Welcome

“The journey towards settlement is difficult – but we do our best to bring some ease into their lives,” says case manager Nadra Tamourt. 

Watch this 1-minute explainer video about Reception House in Waterloo Region.

Reception House is a non-profit charity that provides a warm welcome to government-assisted refugees. Their programs and services assist refugees throughout their settlement and integration process, enabling them to lead healthy and productive lives in their new community. They start by providing the basics: temporary accommodations, orientations to life in Canada. They empower those they serve to find meaningful employment, improve their language skills and heal from trauma and loss.

“Reception House was my first home, my family when I didn’t know anyone,” describes Muna Al-Nidawi, a former Reception House client.

It is evident that as a charity, they have learnt much since 1987 and evolved how they provide assistance. We are impressed with their Starter Kit donations guide shown below.

Reception House, Waterloo Region, Refugees, Charity Spotlight, Donations Guide, Starter Kit

“Once people are in their homes, the work doesn’t stop. That’s when the settlement journey is only beginning,” says Program Director Lynne Griffiths-Fulton. “Each situation is unique, but the majority of families require intensive support given the trauma they have experienced and other complex social, emotional and medical needs. Case managers spend a lot of time serving as systems navigators in a new cultural context.” 

Tech for Good

 “Social isolation, lack of employment opportunities and affordable housing are major barriers to resettlement as well as critical issues for wellbeing in our community,” notes CEO, Carl Cadogan. “These challenges are not unique to refugees; they are part of a broader conversation.”

Reception House was the nominated charity at the True North 2019 conference in Kitchener. Kris Braun, speaking on World Refuge Day made the connection between refugees coming to Canada and welcoming displaced tech talent.

101 Reception House, Welcoming refugees to Waterloo Region, resettlement

“You have given us our lives back, thank you,” remarks Khairia and Yahyia Al Mohammad, a government-assisted refugee served by Reception House. 


“Our work and relationships with refugees, community partners and systems players makes lasting impacts on refugee lives and contributes to long-term well being.” – Vision 2021.

Ride for Refuge

One of the ways you can get involved is through supporting Ride for Refuge on Saturday, October 5. You can join a local team, enter your own team or sponsor a rider. We will be there supporting too. As immigrants to Canada, we know moving to a new country is hard. Arriving from a war-zone as a refugee must be unimaginably hard.

“When you see a friendly smile on their face, you realize that just the simple act of being there is so powerful,” explains Bashir Shahbaz, Manager of Employment Services at Reception House.

Ride for Refuge, Reception House, Blue Sea Philanthropy, Kitchener-Waterloo, Welcome

You can subscribe to the Reception House YouTube Channel here. They are especially active on Twitter, and their website is secure and mobile-friendly. The Reception House Community Report 2018 is a great source of information. We encourage you to learn more.

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Opencity Inc. thinks giving a spotlight to charities is important and one way we can be socially responsible. 

Images courtesy of Reception House.