Fatima, 29, arrived in Canada 5 years ago, breathing a heavy sigh of relief and relishing the opportunities for a new and better life.
Two years later, she began to realize that dreaming of moving to Canada and settling in once arriving here were two completely different things.
Then in a timely moment, a friend mentioned the Mennonite New Life Centre (MNLCT) and its resources for newcomers to Canada. Feeling desperate and despondent, she decided halfheartedly to make a last try at MNLCT and see what the Centre had to offer.
My engagement with MNLCT has made my life in Canada a lot easier and one striking thing is that they taught me how to also help others who are in need.”
“They helped me with my paperwork, like services for my son, my work permit, employment benefits, visa application for my mum, my citizenship application and almost everything, I had no difficulty because the staff were so nice and very understanding.”
What Fatima thinks was most astounding was the fact that “whatever question you have, they are ready to answer and provide solutions”. Holding back tears, she said “they were like a family who cared about me so much. When I came here, I did not know anything about my rights, what I could and could not do, where to find this or that, they restructured my life in an overly positive way.”
Fatima says she is better off now than when she arrived. “I had no one here to help me. I was a single mom and after two years of arriving here, I had no one to help me, no one to follow up with me, I lacked knowledge and insight totally but the ladies at the Centre were very good and when I asked them about doing further studies, they told me about the OSAP, how to apply and a lot more.”
“I did what they advised with their constant support. I enrolled in school and studied and graduated and now I am working. MNLCT made a really big impact in my settlement here in Canada. To be honest, I enjoyed every moment of my experience with MNLCT because they provided me with a family that I did not have in my new country.”
Every time I called on them for help, I had it. They were always patient and helpful. They made you feel like you were in the midst of your family. I am really happy that there was a community like them to help newcomers, provide support, guide and show them the pathway.”
Her final words were these: “My engagement with MNLCT has made my life in Canada a lot easier and one striking thing is that they taught me how to also help others who are in need. Theirs is a totality of development of a newcomer. I have already referred three of my friends to the Centre because I know the benefits that I had from there and I know they can also have the same or even better support.”