I was able to escape my country and came to Toronto, Canada in October 2010. 

In August 2012, I was accepted as a Protected Person in Canada. Though everybody kept saying it was a good thing that I was accepted, I was still very confused and lost. All I remember was feeling that I still did not belong.

One day, a friend advised that it might be better to move to a smaller city where it will be easier for me to feel okay rather than the big city of Toronto.  I wanted to start learning the culture of Canada.  I decided to move to Windsor where I started to attend English class immediately.   There I met many wonderful people including my teacher who was so kind. She knew I was struggling and she connected me with the Refugee Ministry.

As soon as I arrived at the office and met Claire, I felt comfortable and did not hesitate to tell her my whole story. I was still very anxious. I did not know where to go and how to live a stable life in Canada.  That time I was also missing my children very much.  I have three boys that I had to leave when I escaped my county. I was feeling hopeless and I did not know how I can reunite with my children. My self-esteem was very low and was dependent on social assistance for my daily living.  My goal was to be financially independent and be reunited with my children, but I did know where to begin.

I cannot forget what she said, do not worry.  Let us help each other, and let us do it one step at a time.  She also encouraged me that in Canada, if I work hard, anything is possible.  She gave me the motivation and inspiration to move on with life.  The love I received that day from her was what I needed to go on with life. I was lost but she gave me the self confidence.  I went home that day and told myself, “why not?” If a stranger like her showed love and care and told me I can do things then I should try harder.

I was homeless.  I had no place to go.  Claire said, “We are here to help.” She encouraged me.

I started applying for any job. I got my first part-time job and continued studying English. I worked hard and I studied harder.  Though I was already employed part time, I still needed help financially so I could move out of a women’s shelter and find my own place. She did not only fill my home with “stuff” but she gave me the most important thing, which is love.  I will always remember that day.

The help I received from the SNJM refugee fund through the Refugee Ministry made it possible for me to be independent and believe in myself again. They also helped with the expenses for the medical examination necessary for my children so they can soon join me here in Canada. Without their help, I wouldn’t know what to do. I was especially concerned about the circumstance of my children – they had to travel by plane just to get the medical examination. The cost was very expensive and there was no way I could come up with the money even if I was already working. Again, the SNJM refugee fund was there to help me.

In a very short time, I was able to get off Social Assistance and moved in to my own apartment. A place I can finally call my own.   Now that I am in my own place, it feels like a dream.  It is amazing for me to finally belong in this country.  I really cannot believe it. I have my own apartment and I have a job. I actually now have two jobs; One part time and one full time job.  

Whenever I feel sad and anxious, I call Claire.  The refugee office did not just provide the help financially. They also showed care and love for me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the refugee ministry that helped me and comforted me.  Without them, I am sure that I am still lost somewhere.  I will not be myself like I am now.  The financial support that the SNJM Community Refugee Fund gave me was what I needed to start my life here in Canada.  I am really thankful.  The support I received from the refugee ministry gives me continuous strength as I wait for my children’s papers to be finalized to they we can be reunited as a family.

The Community Refugee Fund is currently held 'In Trust' by the Sisters of the Holy Names in Windsor, Ontario.