A Culturally Meaningful Approach to Building Safe Communities


Photo © Pexels/Monstera

Help the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support & Integration keep families safe and strong

Migration is a global and ongoing challenge. Every year, Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of migrants, building a collective mosaic of cultures nationwide. However, for migrants, the settlement, adaptation and integration experiences oftentimes are not an easy process and can be difficult, not just with moving to a new country but with finding their place in a new country, community, culture, and systems towards putting down their family roots to build a new life.

It’s a long journey that in many instances comes with its own conflicts, primarily with social and legal systems that may be different. In principle, migrants are expected to integrate and yet the expectations around assimilation can negatively impact the integration journey, and pose barriers for migrants who come from collectivist cultures.

The Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support & Integration (MRCSSI), a London-based not-for-profit organization that helps families and individuals overcome issues that impact their family safety and wellbeing, and serves the role of a cultural community liaison. MRCSSI provides culturally integrative services that build the capacity to help individuals, families, and communities to overcome challenges, manage conflict,
and ensure their family’s safety and wellbeing.

muslim resource centre
© Pexels/William Fortunato

The primary source of the challenges many migrants from collectivist backgrounds face is the conflict between the collectivist nature of their families and the individualistic model of services, support, and intervention of mainstream services and policies. MRCSSI recognizes that acknowledging the difference between individualistic systems and collectivist communities will allow for better understanding for newcomers. In the case of danger, such as family violence, this can be what it takes to identify and respond to a problem before it escalates.

Service providers may have difficulty supporting families experiencing domestic challenges because of biases or the lack of culturally relevant understanding.

Their services may focus on individual interventions and the approach may be paternalistic, such as rescuing women from their culture, communities, religion, or spirituality. This makes it difficult for newcomers to seek help, thus making them even more vulnerable.

Another source of difficulty is the lack of understanding of a person’s pre-migration experiences, including those impacted by war trauma or those who have lost their socio-economic status. Not taking these factors into account limits the effectiveness of the available services and support to immigrant and newcomer communities.

The culturally integrative framework of MRCSSI’s services helps create a space for equity seeking communities to be part of the solution. This Culturally Integrative Family Safety Response (CIFSR) model allows service providers to form effective and culturally informed responses to family violence within immigrant communities. Essentially, it creates a better social safety net by assisting mainstream services in understanding the challenges better and at the same time supports the immigrant community by helping them understand the system better and build their capacity to respond to their own needs. Each year, MRCSSI uses this model to provide a variety of direct counselling, family-based intervention, as well as public education workshops that impact hundreds of individuals, families, and the community at large.

Although the MRCSSI’s work mainly focuses on Muslim and Middle Eastern communities, the culturally integrative approach MRCSSI uses can benefit other collectivist communities in Canada and worldwide. MRCSSI’s community-based and culturally integrative approach has resulted in the launching of a new initiative, called the Centre for Culturally Integrative Responses (CCIR), to share the learnings and the impact of almost a decade and a half of work with other communities across the country and the globe. Through this new initiative, the centre intends to conduct local, national and international research, help build capacity, provide consulting and training services and inform policy.

Visit mrcssi.com to take action and help keep Ontario’s families safe and strong.

Get your free copy of Global Heroes, jam-packed with positive news, straight in your inbox.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Founded in 2009, the MRCSSI is a not-for-profit organization helping families and individuals overcome the challenges that impact their family safety. We recognize that many people have unique challenges and we seek to support them using a culturally integrative service.


Subscribe to our Newsletter and Access all issues of Global Heroes News straight in your inbox. 100% free, no purchase necessary, for life. Uplifting stories, highlighting the inspirational efforts of everyday people, celebrities, and organizations, who are diligently working together towards practical solutions to global problems.