New Quebecers take on 250-kilometre bike ride to promote inclusion, living together
Group will stop at 6 schools to talk to students about experiences as newcomers
Before Teddy Segor Ingabire first came to Quebec last April, he had never seen snowflakes.
"I love it," he said. "I've wanted for a long time to see snow so I adore it. But it's very cold."
Less than a year after his arrival, the 18-year-old from Burundi is donning a tuque and scarf as he excitedly prepares for another first.
Ingabire is embarking on a 250-kilometre bike ride from Montreal to Quebec City during his first winter in the province.
The journey brings together a mix of young immigrants and refugees for a five-day trip. It was organized by Motivaction Jeunesse in hopes of promoting integration and inclusion.
"It's like we're ambassadors for our countries," said Ingabire.
Virginie Leblanc, who is leading the trip, has been preparing the group of youths, aged 14-21, with physical and mental training.
While she expects bad weather and some surprises along the way, she said the long trip through difficult conditions represents the challenges new Quebecers experience.
"It's a little bit of a comparison with all that immigrants have to do when they change countries," she said. "They arrive and they have challenges."
"It's not always easy."
'We can live together'
It's a challenge that Mohd Ayub Bin Mohd Farid, 21, is ready to take on. He moved to Canada from Malaysia two years ago.
While he is nervous about what the trip holds, Farid knows he's ready to embrace the winter weather.
"You need to fight what you're scared of," he said. "You need to think positive."
"We want to talk about inclusion, integration and the dreams of our students and how it is possible to live together," said Leblanc.
Motivaction Jeunesse will also post updates on the trip through social media all week long.
By the time the group reaches Quebec City, they hope more people will think about the importance of welcoming to newcomers.
"We're from every nationality around the world," said Fraid. "We can live together, we can do an objective together — and also, we can do something impossible to become possible."
With files from Matt D'Amours