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Who We Are

We are a national grassroots, non-for-profit organization working at the intersection of migration, education, and social justice, and a platform committed to promoting inclusion and equity for post-secondary newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students. We are dedicated to supporting and empowering newcomer, immigrant and refugee students in their cultural transitioning, social and economic integration, and civic engagement in Canadian post-secondary institutions as well as broader society. We do this through community engagement, capacity building, and a diverse set of initiatives focused on enhancing students’ leadership development, social capital and sense of belonging. We provide gender-specific programs and professional development opportunities targeting newcomer, immigrant and refugee women as we recognize that these women face multiple intersecting settlement and integration barriers. 

Our work is driven and guided by the voices of our community, and is highly influenced and shaped by our team’s own lived experiences as newcomers, immigrants and refugees.

Who We Serve

The work we do is aimed toward newcomer, immigrant and refugee students with different migration statuses in Canadian post-secondary institutions. However, newcomers, immigrants and refugees who are not enrolled in a post-secondary institution are also welcome to join this community by filling out a membership form. Our services and programs are accessible to all and are offered at no cost. To join us, fill out a membership form here

What We Do

Education, Awareness & Training

Capacity Building & Leadership Development Programs

Research & Advocacy

Community & Civic Engagement

Our Impact

We have over 4500 members in our community and benefit from our initiatives and programs, which include but are not limited to: mentorship, an annual scholarship, public forums, networking opportunities, annual conferences and leadership programming focused on building the capacity and leadership of immigrant women and students. Since 2016, we have hosted numerous events and workshops addressing solidarity building and allyship between indigenous and newcomer communities, civic engagement and leadership, and challenges and barriers facing newcomer, immigrant and refugee communities. Through our platform, we have raised awareness, provided educational resources, addressed best practices and amplified the voices of newcomer, immigrant and refugee students. Our programs and events have been attended and accessed by over 3000 students and community members.

A Note From Our Founder…

When we launched in 2016 as the Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson (NSAR), we did so on a mission to support and empower newcomer students at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Over the years, we’ve responded to the needs of hundreds of newcomer students. We’ve built partnerships with more than 50 organizations, academic departments, student societies and groups. We’ve organized a variety of events and public forums to raise awareness about the challenges that newcomer, immigrant, and refugee  students face, built solidarity with various communities, and delivered several workshops and training sessions to support the integration and transition process of these students, as well as build their leadership capacity and civic engagement. 

Today I am thrilled to announce that going forward, we will be operating under the name Newcomer Students’ Association. Our story started at Ryerson University and we’ll always honour the work we did with Ryerson. However, we felt it was time to rebrand, so that moving forward, we are able to better serve and understand the unique needs of newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students at different post-secondary institutions across Canada. 

That being said, newcomers, immigrants, and refugees who are not enrolled in a post-secondary institution are also welcome to join this community by filling out a membership form, found on our website. Our services and programs are accessible to all and are offered at no cost. 

Our new logo represents the work we do in creating pathways and space for newcomers, immigrants and refugees who are starting a new chapter of life. We want our members to continue sharing their lived experiences through storytelling, genuine and authentic connection, and community building. The colours represent the diversity and multiculturalism of those who come to the Newcomer Students’ Association, from different walks of life. The newcomer, immigrant and refugee community has always been at the heart of what we do, and we wanted our logo to be a reflection of our commitment to them.

Our mission is to provide a safe space to empower newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students to build fellowship, capacity and community through their shared lived experiences.

—Sara Asalya

Volunteer with the Newcomer Students’ Association

Volunteer form coming soon

Recent Posts

Non-for-Profit Announcement

Today is a very special day as it marks an important milestone in our organization’s history. As  a grassroots community-based initiative, today, I am delighted to announce that we are officially an incorporated non-for-profit organization. While…

Immigrant Women’s National Network (IWNN)

Network Purpose Statement

Immigrant Women National Network (IWNN) is a network led by and for immigrant and refugee women. The network aims to amplify the voices of black and racialized immigrant and refugee women, advance their leadership, create transformative and empowering experiences, optimize their civic and political participation, and champion their rights.

Mission & Mandate

Immigrant Women National Network (IWNN) is a Canadian national network addressing issues and policies impacting the social, economic, civic, and political integration, engagement, inclusion and advancement of immigrant and refugee women. Looking through an intersectional lens, the aim of this network is two-fold. 

  1. First, It aims to create a platform and safe space for immigrant and refugee women to connect with one another,  share their stories, and offer peer support and mentorship. Furthermore, the network was established with a mandate to provide and equip immigrant and refugee women with the tools, knowledge, resources and skills they need to reach their full potential and be contributing and active members of the society. 
  2. Second, the national network will act as a community of practice, bringing together experts, knowledge holders, and those with lived experience in immigration, displacement, resettlement and integration, to address issues, barriers, and challenges facing this community, as well as solutions to advance the inclusion of immigrant and refugee women in all aspects of the Canadian society.
Network Vision

Our vision is an inclusive society where immigrant women are in leadership roles, represented in all sectors, and can fully and equally participate, without barriers, in all aspects of the Canadian Society.


Immigrant, and refugee women are one of the hardest hit groups during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need has never been greater to create such a platform to support and facilitate their integration. We recognize that these women face multiple intersecting barriers to settlement, integration, civic participation and career advancement. Through this network, we address and tackle issues related to social isolation, gender-based violence, mental health and wellbeing, civic engagement and leadership, as well as downward mobility for this segment. To empower these women and support their integration journey, we provide a variety of leadership and capacity building programs, training sessions as well as community engagement opportunities such as:

  • Professional development and career advancement sessions
  • Civic engagement and political action workshops
  • Peer to peer mentorship
  • Annual Leadership development Summits and programming
  • Social justice and activism training
  • Learning circles, public forums, and roundtable discussions 
  • Community engagement and capacity building sessions
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and anti-oppression training 
  • Events and networking opportunities

To learn more about the network, please read our full launch announcement here.

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