A new association is adding more cultural flavour to Timmins.
The Timmins Ontario Malayalee Association held its first general meeting this week at Lions Club Park, Schumacher. The meeting was co-ordinated by Shine Johnson, a prominent community member.
In the last couple of years, the number of Kerala people in Timmins increased remarkably. Now, they are registering as an organization.
"We have seen many newcomers struggling in Timmins. It's the time to unite as an organization to help each other," says Johnson, who has lived in Timmins since 2016.
Kerala is one of the southern states in India. The Malayalam-speaking community's presence was nominal locally until 2016.
"When I came to Timmins, only four of us were from Kerala. But then people gradually came in. Now we are a large community," he said.
The association aims to provide different services to newcomers.
"We want to help them find accommodation, peer support, and overcome cultural shock and, of course, to introduce our Kerala cultural diversity here in Timmins," he said.
He thinks some programs like supply chain management and nursing at Northern College attracted many people from Kerala. Also, he believes the ever-increasing expense of bigger cities is another reason.
The number of people from Kerala locally has from four to 150 in six years.
"We want to stay strong as a community. But at the same time, we want to blend well with the local culture and values," he said.
"In the future, we plan to conduct many activities and programs for struggling youth. Because we want to spread the sense that they are not alone," he explained the association's plans.
Because most of the community members are students, the association has economic limitations.
"But we want to overcome that by utilizing our youth's great energy, ideas, and creativity. We hope they can produce a positive change in the community," he said.
They are organizing their most significant festival of Onam in September. More than 100 people are already registered for the event.
Jinsh Rayaroth, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com