"I came to Canada 3 months ago from Venezuela to join my husband who came here 7 months ago looking for better employment as a mechanical engineer in the energy industry, something that is unavailable to him in my country. I am a financial specialist and could read some English for my job but not speak it. I came to the YMCA to learn English so that I could communicate with my children’s teachers and help my son 4 and my daughter 3 learn English too.
We were nervous, afraid of all the expectations of starting again, but the YMCA changed all that. The Y helped to improve my language, explained things like Canadian culture, behaviors, and how to adapt to life here. I was afraid, but the YMCA and Canada has welcomed us, opened their arms to us, and now I feel good and want to help my kids, support other newcomers, work on my qualifications, get a job, pay taxes and feel like I belong."
“My name is Jane and I am from Afghanistan. We left because my life was in danger and I was not safe because of war. My two children were not in school and my inlaws were making life difficult. My brother helped me get the money, and we landed in Canada 6 months ago with only 1 week’s accommodation planned. I called the YMCA right away and they helped me with everything. They arranged for women’s shelter housing, enrolled my kids in school, helped with transportation, and of course, English language training. Although we first found the new culture difficult, we are really happy and enjoy life in Canada – my kids are doing well and teacher’s report they are improving daily. I really appreciate everything the YMCA has done for me and my children - they helped me find my way…like a baby, they taught me how to walk.”
“My name is Nadia and I am from Ukraine. I came to Canada 3 years ago to be with my husband. Before I moved here, I was a high school teacher. When I arrived in Canada, I had a goal to improve my English. Not only did the YMCA staff help me to improve my English, they helped me to get a job. I now make enough money to send to my mother and daughter back home. I have also made many friends among other newcomers to Canada. We often speak to each other on the phone and give each other advice. The YMCA staff have helped me tremendously and I am very grateful to them for changing my life for the better.”
My name is Tami and I am from Japan and a mother of three. I came to Canada because my husband has a job in Canada. I came to the YMCA to improve my English, especially speaking. When I first arrived in August 2014, I felt lonely, left out and didn’t know how to socialize in the community. The YMCA helped me to not only improve my English but also get involved. I now have made friends at my children’s school, volunteer there and at the YMCA. When you live in a new place, I believe it is very important to be a member of the community, and the Y helped me do that. I’ve learned that Canada is very diverse; and now I am ready to further my education, take advantage of being bilingual and become a translator, as a way to give back.”
Didar, Ashty & Ara
My name is Didar, and I am from Khurdistan/Iraq. Myself, my wife Ashty and my daughter Ara came to Canada 3 months ago because of the political situation in my country. We came to the YMCA to improve our English. When I first came to Canada, I was confused because of the different culture. The YMCA has helped us to improve our English language, learn about Canadian culture, and find my skills that made me shorten my path to my academic goal that I have to obtain here. They helped us start our new life here. Now I feel I am good, confident and satisfied with those many helpful people around me.”
His wife Ashty explains, “It had become unsafe for my family and I in our country. The YMCA has helped me improve my language skills. By daily participation, I discovered skills I didn’t know I had. The YMCA has helped us in different ways such as helping us fill out government paperwork and applications, presenting every service that we needed, helping us find information, providing rides to places and helping us find a job. In Canada I feel most of my rights are protected so I can live safely. I would be happy if I can get my licence to work as a Canadian doctor!