Happy 2022 from here!
2022, here we come.
The world hasn’t seen enough of us.
The world hasn’t even heard enough of us.
We choose to take this year by storm, breaking every limit.
Here’s the deal this month…
Last December @theimmigrantlifeoffice, the editorial team was engaged in a debate to determine who should feature as our January Immigrant of The Month (ITM). As usual, everyone had their list of prospects.
We decided to slug it out.
And because we usually resolve issues as true democrats, each of us decided to present our manifesto and then canvass for votes. Lol!
“Bring forth your strong reasons…”
Then someone interjected with, “who doesn’t qualify to be the ITM anyways? Being an immigrant itself is hard. It is not a venture for the lily-livered…”
At that point in time, we all sobered. Yes, who indeed doesn’t qualify to be the Immigrant of The Month (ITM)?
Is it Peter, the immigrant from Somalia who came to Canada as a refugee? He never had it easy, having lost his family back home in Hargeisa. Peter was unlettered at the time he came into the country. Long story cut short – Peter is now a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree holder and has in his employ 18 individuals, many of who came in as refugees.
Or is it this other lady that I was fortunate enough to meet the other day. She is a young lady in her early 20s.
Yes, that’s her name.
Rosa hasn’t quite lived for a year in Canada, yet she is living not just for herself, but for others.
Rosa volunteers to take care of senior citizens at senior homes and paraplegics anytime she has the chance (when she isn’t working to earn money). She says she understands the pain of immobility and helplessness. She lost her father, who was a veteran paraplegic, just 2 years ago.
Rosa hasn’t yet got her desired professional job. In fact, she cannot afford to get an apartment of her own. But what stands her out is her selflessness. She has chosen to rise above her limitations and make a difference in the lives of others. When you sit with this young lady, you will be enthralled by her vivaciousness.
There are many more Rosas all over Canada.
Many more immigrants are making the immigrant community proud one way or the other.
They are constantly contributing to the growth of Canada, and that is despite the negative stereotyping.
Unfortunately, immigrants are the most stereotyped people in Canada.
They endure becoming invisible in their new environments.
Immigrants “stoop to conquer.”
Immigrants endure the absurd glare…the suspicious look…the exchange of “knowing looks” …the demeaning glances and what have you.
Immigrants in Canada, as it is elsewhere, trudge daily to low wage work places, not minding that they are trained doctors, engineers, computer programmers…They work as drivers, loaders, waiters, sous-chefs…
Immigrants struggle to find the right job that is commensurate with their level of education and experience. Sometimes too, they settle for lower paying jobs as long as they feel accepted. That is the price they choose to pay to get some relevance.
Immigrants are our everyday heroes. So, why won’t we choose to celebrate them?
They are the silent movers of the Canadian economy. For instance, 1 in 4 (26%) of every Canadian worker is an immigrant. (https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizens/corporate/publications-manuals/annua,-report-parliament-immiration-2020.html).
Canada is undoubtedly a country of immigrants.
All immigrants are therefore important to Canada and to us all.
This January, we will attempt to post stories of little beginnings and giant leaps of immigrants; Stories of hard work, sweat, struggles and conquests; Stories of honesty; Stories of doggedness in the face of obstacles; Stories of acts of kindness…These will be our focus this month. It will be a month-long dedication to everyone as immigrants of the month. We will showcase as many ambassadors as possible of the immigrant community here in Canada that are proving their mettle in their own way. There are many such stories we can share.
We would however like you to share yours using our platform.
You can also send in unique stories about other immigrants that can inspire.
If we don’t tell our stories, who will?
Here’s the link to share your story…
Written by Yinka Bakare