New Vietnamese Association on P.E.I. aims to help newcomers connect and thrive
'I come from a city where there are 15 million people in the size of P.E.I.'
As Prince Edward Island's Vietnamese community continues to grow, a new organization wants to help Vietnamese newcomers make the Island their home.
The Vietnamese Association on P.E.I. first met in October, and had about 250 people from the community attend said Elaine Nguyen, the group's spokesperson.
"The association's aim is to help the Vietnamese to settle down, to integrate well into our new homeland, opening more opportunity while keeping Vietnamese culture," said Nguyen.
Growing presence on the Island
Nguyen arrived about four years ago with the provincial nominee program. She owns a motel in Cornwall, P.E.I., and also works as a real estate agent.
As a newcomer herself, Nguyen understands some of the challenges of moving to a new place.
She said one big adjustment for her was P.E.I.'s population — or lack of it.
"I come from a city where there are 15 million people in the size of P.E.I. But here is a lot less — so we find it isolated," she said.
The group estimates that about 500 Vietnamese newcomers currently live on the Island.
As the organization grows, Nguyen said it is hoping to build a library, organize a summer camp for the community's children and create more spaces like Vietnamese restaurants for the community to gather.
"That is something that we miss," she said.
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With files from CBC Radio: Mainstreet P.E.I.