PAMC celebrates first batch of Youth Ambassadors with Gala Night

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Fabiola Niyinkiza, Raghav Kapur, Thomas Iradi and Leevance Rakesh Macwan with their certifications during the Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) Youth Ambassador Gala Night on Friday evening.

On Friday, the Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) hosted its inaugural Youth Ambassador Gala Night to recognized the organization’s first set of Youth Ambassadors.

Raghav Kapur is the Chair of the PAMC Youth Ambassadors Council. Kapur was chosen because he is also involved with the Optimist Club and picked up skills from them. He said it’s exciting to be named a youth ambassador.

“It is very new,” he said. “This is the first time in PA we have our Youth Council. What I’ve seen is my other members, they are reaching out to youth (saying) if they need any help, they come to us. I have my cards printed out and I’m just telling people if they need any help, they (can) come to me.”

Kapur said that the whole concept was successful because it helped each of the Ambassador’s

Kapur came to Canada from Punjab, India two years ago and said the PAMC helped him adjust to his new life studying Hospitality and Tourism at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

“I came here and it was very difficult for me to get settled, to get a job and to just start rolling, so I was looking for the opportunity,” he said.

“I saw the opportunity and saw in this way I can help the youth out there. I just took the opportunity, and right now I’m here.”

Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) Executive Director Michelle Hassler explained that the Youth Ambassador program is funded solely by the Government of Canada. The program is open to people from ages 15 to 30.

The nine Youth Ambassadors were invited to present on their project however all of them could not make the evening. Each ambassador received up to $5,000 in financial assistance for their initiative or project

Kapur’s project was a Diwali event at the Ches Leach Lounge in November 2023.

Fabiola Niyinkiza is from Burundi and has been in Prince Albert for four years and two months. Her project was about bridging cultural gaps through music from Burundi. Niyinkiza created and recorded an original and traditional music video.

Nitinkiza said that making music was her dream and being able to work in a studio to make music would be something she could not normally afford.

“It was really hard,” she said. “I’m proud of this part because it was my dream before.”

Nitinkizae composed the song and recorded it in the studio with the money from the program.

She was also able to pay the production costs for the video.

“My song is about how a farmer can’t go in the garden without a plough, so you can’t go without those instruments because you can’t plant your seed, (and) you can’t prepare your land,” she explained. “You can prepare your garden and you can plant the seed.”

She said it was great to see YouTube impressions on her video because the goal of the music was to spread her culture to people in Canada

“Maybe some youth that are as shy as me (and) they have lots of stuff to do, so I am there in front of them to show them that everything is possible,” she said.

Niyinkiza said the whole experience in the program was beneficial. She was especially proud that her father, who is a Pastor in Edmonton (and) came to see her perform at Tapestrama. The family came together in 2019 and she wound up in Prince Albert. PAMC paid to get the family to Prince Albert for Tapestrama.

She said that she appreciated the funding from the Government of Canada.

“We’re using it and then we receive a result,” she said. “Now I have so many places that call me (after) this video uploaded. They call me and then (I) go there and then I sing, (and) I perform…. It’s really nice to me.”

The program was initially launched in May 2023. According to PAMC, this initiative aims to foster youth engagement and participation within the community. Nine dynamic Youth Ambassadors were chosen, given the unique opportunity to propose and implement youth-led initiatives centred around reconciliation, anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, and democratic engagement.

The ambassadors have not only worked on their respective community projects but have also taken on roles in the newly formed PAMC Youth Council.

PAMC Executive Director Michelle Hassler gave a brief overview of the program to open the evening. Hassler said that she had been searching for funding for a program for youth for many years. Hassler has applied for another round of funding that would be for three years.

There were monthly check-ins, and the Ambassadors were involved in any PAMC events. They also travelled to Saskatoon and met the Youth Ambassadors from that city.

Flo Frank from Common Ground Consulting had a video call in to speak to the Ambassadors.

There was then a summary of each project, with Hassler and Melanie Carcillar assisting those who were not in attendance.

To conclude the evening, Hassler presented each Ambassadors with their certifications.

Emmanuel Adams, who could not make the evening developed an app called Social to connect people of many cultures. This app will be officially launched at a later date by the PAMC. Laeticia Mwayuma, who could not attend, hosted a multicultural World Fashion Show that took place during Tapestrama. Izabelle Bignell, who could not attend, created a documentary about people of many cultures who live in Prince Albert.

Kapur put on a Diwali Celebration at the Ches Leach in November. Fabiola Niyinkiza created and recorded an original and traditional music video

Abelle Kizinga, who also could not attend, hosted an African Hair Braiding workshop. Taylor Vandale-Cole hosted a Ribbon Skirt making workshop. Thomas Iradi hosted a Bannock and Metis cart-making workshop and Leevance Rakesh Macwan organized a trip to Wanuskewin Heritage Park to explore Indigenous culture.