“Saving my family”
Jovana and her family fled violence for a better life in Canada
Life in Brazil is not conducive for families. Finding work is difficult in the best of times. Violence is frequent and often lethal. Jovana saw this first-hand.
“It was too violent. My family was assaulted multiple times and my brother-in-law was killed. Our only chance to save our family was to come to Canada. But here, it’s been very difficult too. It’s like we were starting all over again.” Jovana’s husband could only find precarious work. Their situation became worse during COVID-19 as jobs became scarce.
“With our new baby, we didn’t know what to do. I was so relieved when I found out how The Neighbourhood Group could help…access to housing, food banks, healthcare and financial support. And the emotional support was so important. I was so anxious having my baby in a new country but having staff speak in my own language helped so much.
Staff were also able to help me with donations during COVID-19. I was very grateful for the grocery gift cards, and a stroller and car seat I received. This freed up money to pay the rent, buy food and pay for other necessities. My family is doing much better now. I know I can count on The Neighbourhood Group to connect me to the resources I need to adapt to life in Canada, and life with a new baby.”
women adapted to a better life in Canada with their new babies
The house is a home
Samira found support from everyone in our Women’s Program
“I was isolated and alone. I tried some agencies near me and didn’t feel they understood my situation. A friend told me about the Women’s Program. I didn’t think they could help but went because I didn’t know what else to do.”
The Women’s Program provides a safe space for women of all backgrounds to make friends and find support for the issues that are important to them. Women receive individual counselling and advocacy, get referrals for external services, and enjoy activities like yoga and tai chi.
“I felt welcomed and comfortable right away and shared my story. Fighting for custody of my children was the most difficult time of my life. Staff helped me find a lawyer and supported me throughout the process. So did the other women in the program. Finally, I won custody. I was grateful to have that support, and still have it.
“Today, my children and I are doing well and they are thriving in school. During the pandemic, staff from the Women’s Program have been so supportive, helping me navigate online programming, getting Ramadan meals and more. They check-up to make sure we’re ok and provide online services.”
“Everyone in the Women’s Program is part of my family. Central Neighbourhood House is my home and I miss coming there during COVID.”
476 women from Bengali, Tamil, Mandarin, Swahili and Somali communities gain support and a network to help them with immigration, family, school system and referrals.