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'Generation Eh' tells story of Canadians old and new

Last Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 9:29 am EDT

Photo from generationeh.weebly.com.

A group of students at the University of Waterloo is putting an interesting spin on Canada’s upcoming anniversary.

‘Generation Eh’ offers a chance to connect with someone you know who immigrated to Canada and share their story, while reading stories of others from all around the world.

The project, led by a group of Knowledge Integration students, aims to celebrate Canada’s diversity.

According to co-creator Patrick Famaran, it started with a question of how to engage historically underrepresented Canadians in social citizenship.

“We thought that the best way, and the most appropriate way, to do so would be through stories,” Famaran tells 570 News.

This idea of talking to one another really resonated with us and drove us to what ‘Generation Eh’ eventually became.”

“We’re interested in trying to get youth to start conversations with older immigrants and get them to share their stories,” adds co-creator Alex Pearce, “and I think that’s really important in terms of keeping their knowledge and wisdom in our societies moving forward.”

Co-creator Joy Mpesha says it’s been special to see people come alive in sharing their experiences:

“The way they remember these stories so vividly, it’s been very interesting to watch, because it’s kind of exactly what we want — they can share in a new way that opens everyone’s eyes to their perspective.”

‘Generation Eh’ has created a map of the world, where stories can be submitted to show where Canadians have immigrated from.

To add your story, go to generationeh.weebly.com.

GENERATION EH’S CREATORS ON WHAT MAKES CANADA SPECIAL TO THEM:

Joy Mpesha: “The way we embrace diversity. I’ve been embraced as an immigrant […] with open [arms]. People are genuinely interested in what I have to say. They’re genuinely interested in my culture and what I have to offer to this country as a whole, and I think it’s beautiful to see how people from different backgrounds can all come together and identify as Canadian. The term Canadian means completely different things to different people, but we’re still united [by that].”

Patrick Famaran: “In another place, there’s usually this level of tolerance, where it’s like, ‘okay, you’re different.’ […] But in Canada, there’s this level of celebration of different cultures. We embrace the fact that this is a cultural mosaic. […] In every province, the landscape is different, the people are different, and everyone loves that […] I couldn’t be able to call another place home.”

Alex Pearce: “We take pride as Canadians in being kind, and being polite, and being helpful to others, and I think that’s a really cool identity to have as a country. I think of the time in the Olympics where there was one [Russian] skier who [broke] his ski, and the Canadian coach — even though it wasn’t a Canadian skier — went out [with a replacement] ski and brought it to him. That’s something we all look and and think, ‘that’s Canadian.'”