Pablo faced unexpected difficulties and along the way discovered his resilience. Now he is building his life anew. This is his story!
“Let me start by explaining why I was no longer safe and could not stay in my home country. Before I came to Canada, it never crossed my mind to be an immigrant. I had a good life before political and economic problems in my country put me in a tight position; I was a politician. A couple of friends from my political party went to jail. Some were killed. That was when I no longer felt safe. I applied to seek refuge in Canada. I left my life behind and had to start from zero. I told my story, and it was fact-checked. The Canadian government approved. When I arrived at Canada, I was only able to say: “Hello, how are you”?
After a few months, the Canadian reality hit me. I had a whole new set of problems. This is the first time I am alone and facing multiple challenges at the same time. I was running out of money. I applied to the first job I could get my hands on – a general laborer. With limited public transport availability, I sometimes walked to my workplace when the weather was minus 20 degrees Celsius.
I understood that my life here is not my life in Venezuela. I knew I had to adapt. Despite the language barrier, I decided to make the best out of the situation and do my work better than anyone else. I’m working really hard just to pay the bills. I came to Canada seeking safety, but I want to have the Canadian dream: Have a house, have more time to enjoy the meaningful moments of life. I motivate myself when facing challenges by doing a good job. I am hopeful that I will eventually achieve my goals.
I am not exactly young anymore; I might look in my 20’s but I am not (laughs). I will have to go back to college and maybe get a certificate. That means I would have to focus on education and not work. Maybe, just maybe I’d be able to get a bank job. The position I have now is not necessarily something I want to keep long term. Jumpstart Refugee Talent has been helpful in my transition. They know how to support refugees without judgement because they know first-hand what it’s like. Receiving the WES gateway program credential was an achievement because it was a way to certify that I am a professional. It was dignifying.
My message for newly settled refugees is that everything will be fine. There are enough opportunities [in Canada] for everybody. Do not lose focus in what you are searching for. My message for the government is that they should put more attention on immigrants because they make up a significant part of the population. They need help with finding good jobs. A tax incentive perhaps could ease the burden of people starting a new life in Canada. It is hard for them [refugees] to pay taxes when it makes up 20 to 30 percent of their pay and they do not get paid enough to start with. Nonetheless, I am grateful to Canada and its peoples for the new start.”
For more information about Jumpstart’s WES Gateway Program, visit jumpstartrefugee.ca/programs/wes/