Eastman Immigrant Services is funded by the Governments of Canada and Manitoba, and has been supporting newcomers and immigrants in Southern Manitoba for 20 years. In addition to working with newcomers EIS is invested in working together with community partners to support welcoming newcomers to Eastern Manitoba.
Michelle Bezditny | Executive Director
Languages spoken: English
Michelle Bezditny has been employed with the Steinbach Chamber since 2013. Born and raised in Southeast Manitoba, she has a huge heart for this community and is passionate about supporting diversity in the region. At the top of her list of favourites are traveling, reading and enjoying Thai food. Michelle and her husband Russ have three incredible daughters who keep them busy and loving life.
Gwen Reimer | Program Director
Languages spoken: English, Low German,
Gwen has lived in Canada all her life but loves the cultural diversity of the country. She received a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 2013 and taught English as a Second Language for 15 years before she started her role as the Program Director for Eastman Immigrant Services. The time in the classroom impacted her love and understanding of different cultures and gave her a greater awareness of the joys and challenges of newcomers to Canada. Gwen and her husband live in Blumenort, MB, love to ride motorcycle and have two boys. She loves to read, garden and travel.
Marina Klassen | Receptionist
Languages spoken: English, High German,
Marina has been with Eastman Immigrant Services since 2006 and has enjoyed meeting newcomers from all around the world, assisting them with various settlement needs. She was born in Steinbach, but has lived outside of Canada for over 20 years. She studied overseas and has worked in an international organization in Vienna, Austria. Marina enjoys traveling, and has visited over 30 countries.
Amber Reitsma | Communications
Languages spoken: English
Born and raised right here in southeast Manitoba, Amber has enjoyed life in Canada. As a young girl, she did not experience much cultural diversity around her, but moving to the big city of Ottawa for university changed that for her in the best way possible. Amber received a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications in 2007 from Carleton University and has been working in the communications/public relations field ever since. She began working as the Communications Coordinator on a contract-basis with the Steinbach Chamber in 2016, and started doing the same for EIS in 2020. Amber, her husband, and three children live in the country between Steinbach and La Broquerie. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, chasing chickens and chauffeuring her children to all the things.
Erna Friesen | Settlement Facilitator
Languages spoken: English, Spanish, German,
Erna was born in Paraguay to Canadian parents and moved to Canada at the age of 7. She still vividly remembers the joys and struggles of adapting to a new culture. She lived in Canada until 2007 when she, along with her husband and 3 children moved to Bolivia for 10 years to work for a Canadian Mission Organization. It was there that she once again experienced the joys and struggles of adapting to a new culture. She has a Diploma in Biblical Counseling and gathered a wealth of understanding and experiences in getting to know several different people groups and languages.
Joshua Madula | Settlement Facilitator
Languages spoken: English, Tagalog, Bisaya,
Joshua has lived in Steinbach since 2016. Born in the Philippines, he speaks Cebuano and Tagalog. Before coming to Canada, he worked in purchasing and logistics. Since his arrival in Canada, Joshua has worked for the Department of Families for Manitoba as well as at El’dad as a Direct Support Worker. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys travelling, learning about different cultures, a good cup of tea and trying different ethnic food.
Theo Muthumwa | Settlement Facilitator
Languages spoken: English, French, Swahili, Lingala, Kinande,
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Theo arrived in Canada in 2009. He graduated with a Health Care Aide Certificate from University of St. Boniface and completed a Bachelor of Peace & Conflict Transformational Studies and Biblical Studies at Canadian Mennonite University. He also graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in 2020, and holds both a Bible Study and Early Childhood Management Diploma. Theo is a church planter with Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba and a pastor of Philadelphia Miracle Ministries since 2013. Previously, Theo has worked as a Health Care Aide, a Residential Support Worker, and as an Educational Assistant in the French School Division (DSFM). Theo is married and has three sons and one daughter. He likes to help newcomers with their integration into the Canadian system and enjoys providing counseling services and assisting people in his community. In his free time, you might find Theo playing soccer or reading a good book.
Lee Eun Kim | Settlement Facilitator (Interlake Region)
Languages spoken: English, Korean,
Originally from South Korea, Eun now resides in Manitoba with her husband and two daughters. She holds a Masters degree in Faith and Health Ministries, as well as a Ph.D in American Literature. She taught Literature and English in the University in Korea and provided counselling services as well. She enjoys meeting people, exploring diversity, and connecting with people in meaningful ways. Eun loves to learn, which enables her to stay open-minded and assist newcomers with respect.
Viktoria Vladmirova | Employment Facilitator
Languages spoken: English, Russian,
Viktoria was born in Russia, but at a very early age, she moved to Kazakhstan and then to Kaliningrad where she graduated with a Bachelors in Education. In 2003, she immigrated to Steinbach along with her family. She has been working for EIS since 2005 and has taken many courses in career planning and employment coaching, including interview and job search skills. Her life experience has given her the abilities to work with internationals in organizing their goals and interviewing them to find out their talents. She loves spending free time with her two boys, reading, traveling and giving gifts.
Komal Mahant | Volunteer & Integration Coordinator
Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Gujarati,
Komal is from incredible India. She has completed her Master of Science in mathematics, Bachelor of Education from Sardar Patel University, India, Diploma in I.T. , and a diploma in Business Administration (from England). She was assistant lecturer in business mathematics in Sardar Patel university, India. Komal also obtained a Child Care Assistant certificate from Red River College. Her passion is working with children and helping to meet their needs. She is interested in working with different culture communities. She loves to cook international food, play with children and listen to music.
Marcel Marinho | Eastman Region Immigration Partnerships Coordinator
Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Portuguese,
Marcel was born in Brazil, graduated from University of Wales in Missional Leadership and has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Former CEO for a non-profit organization in Brazil, Marcel arrived in Canada in 2017 with a wealth of knowledge in community development. He loves diversity and trying out foods from different cultures. Learn more about Eastman Region Immigration Partnerships.
Rene Schulz | SWIS Worker
Languages spoken: English, High German,
René was born and raised in Germany. He moved to Canada in 2006 and completed his high school diploma. He pursued Biblical Studies in Germany.
Back in Canada he attended Providence University to complete his M.A. in TESOL. In 2018 he went to Japan for a year to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Through his studies and international experience, he is fully aware of all the hardship and challenges that newcomers face when moving into a new country. René is married and has two children. He enjoys connecting with children and teenagers. His hobbies include LEGO, running, Kendo, and board games.
Sheena Friesen | SWIS Worker
Languages spoken: English, Low German,
Sheena has lived in Southeast MB her whole life, but grew up hearing stories of Loma Plata, Paraguay, where her mother lived as a child. Knowing of her mother’s experiences as a newcomer, Sheena has a heart for those that are new to Canada. Sheena’s career of working with children and families spans over 17 years, with her graduating as an Early Childhood Educator II from Red River College in 2007. She began as an EA for EAL students at the SRSS, and has worked for such organizations as the Steinbach Arts Council, Southland Church, Steinbach Family Outreach, and Red River College. Sheena has spent a good portion of her career helping families navigate some of the harder aspects of parenting, and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to child development and its application. Sheena has three children, and loves to read, watch The Office, collect antiques, and is also a DJ in the Winnipeg music scene.
Beverly Magaway | SWIS Worker (Interlake Region)
Languages spoken: English, Tagalog,
Originally from the Philippines, Bev graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Economics and worked for the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for seven years. Upon arriving in Manitoba in 2006, Bev worked a variety of jobs and took a Health Care Aide course at Robertson College. In previous employment, her favourite job was working with seniors – seeing the pureness of their hearts through their smiles and singing. Bev loves to meet people, especially newcomers, and to offer them help in any way she can. She is the co-owner of Magaway Cleaning Services in Arborg, MB, and loves spending time with her four children and three fur babies (cats).
|November 4, 2020|
Settlement Partner (Volunteer)
One-to-One Citizenship Tutor (Volunteer)
Language Buddy (Volunteer)
Citizenship Class Facilitator (Volunteer)
When we were newcomers to Canada, EIS welcomed us. When we needed to learn English to work, EIS helped us. When we applied for nomination to the province and for permanent residence, EIS supported us during the whole process. We love them.
- Oscar Rada & Catherine Sanchez