We learn so much about others from the images we see and the stories we hear. But what if most of the images of immigrants these days show desperate people crammed onto overloaded boats, and most of the stories put the word “immigrant” next to the word “bogus” or “unemployed”?
Nyamulola Kambanji is an immigrant currently working in Ottawa’s settlement sector. She has firsthand knowledge that those associations far from the complete story. Where are the pictures of the men and women living successful lives here, the talented people helping to build our city with their skills and energy?
Nyamulola decided to do what she could to correct the public impression and chose her camera as her tool. Inspired in part by the huge popularity of the Human of New York page on Facebook, Nyamulola created her own Immigrants of Ottawa page in April, 2014. She shoots portraits of immigrants living in the capital and includes a brief profile of each person in her Facebook post. Her joyful photos show people from Iran, St. Lucia, the Philippines, Zambia and many more, at ease in their new life, sharing their stories and reflecting on their migration journey.
“Listening to the migration and integration stories of different people, I appreciate their resilience and candour,” Nyamulola says. “This project also gives me the opportunity to meet new people, and share ideas and knowledge.”
Each day during Welcoming Ottawa Week, Nyamulola is featuring a different portrait of an Ottawa immigrant and telling his or her story.
Annavic, from the Philippines, is featured in the main image above with her husband, originally from Poland. They met here and are looking forward to raising their child in the capital, a place they now proudly call home.