Ron’s Story

Ron, a recent arrival from Indonesia, shares his journey of seeking asylum in Canada and finding a meaningful employment. This is his story! 

The Great Leap: by Ron.

Coming to Canada as a refugee has led to the greatest leap in my life. 

I thought my partner and I had prepared ourselves well when we arrived in Canada, ready to rebuild our lives with 4 suitcases and a healthy dose of optimism. 

But as I had deridingly heard, there were no replies from the many job applications we sent out, which made it quite a rough start. Thankfully, the federal government had been incredibly supportive along the way, and many nonprofit organizations were also offering us amazing support. To name a few: Rainbow Refugee, Legal-aid, ISS of BC, Mosaic, Queer Arts Festival, and of course, Jumpstart Refugee Talent. It really warms the heart that a lot of people are working so hard, sparing no effort to offer people like me this kind of intensive support.  

And thanks to this amazing community’s help, I persevered.  

I have always believed that working hard is a universal language that many human beings understand and respond to very well, and of course as one of the friendliest nations as nominated by the memes, Canadians speak this language. Working hard was the thing I could do in gratitude to all the amazing help I was given.  

My career track in Canada has been anything but traditional, and early on one could hardly consider it a ‘leap’ as my first job was closing shifts on the weekends for a grocery chain. But I learned to let go of my past accomplishments and make the best of the present, and with this attitude I was granted unprecedented growth along the way, again with the amazing support from so many good people. 

And among this growth, improved customer service skills are just a minor part of it. 

The version of myself that came 3 years ago was out of touch with his identity. I was a person trapped in a country that discriminated me and so many others for our sexual orientation, a closeted gay man constantly struggling with having to lead double identities and navigating life through the fear of being found out. This struggle had led me to adopt many destructive defense mechanisms, ones that I did not even realize had until I got here. 

That version of myself was also not handling his depression properly, which added nuances to this growth. At my lowest point, I thought an attempt at suicide would make everything all right. Thankfully, it eventually turned out to be all right, although not in the way I had imagined. As you can see, I am still here, and I am glad to say I have a better handle on my depression.   

Now I’m also proud to say that on top of the skills and experience I gathered in Indonesia, I now have on my resume the skills to manage retail, develop a culinary start-up, administer logistics, as well as design and execute jingles and pages – things that I never imagined I would enjoy doing.  

On top of that, I’ve also made amazing friends along the way and grown to know myself better, which led to making better decisions and delivering better work.  

But most importantly, once I was able to live a life free of persecution, I was able to process a lot of traumas, discover my true identity as a human being, gain better understanding of a human being’s life, and find the purpose in mine, which is to create a nonprofit that could contribute to alleviating the world’s suffering.  

That dream is getting more concrete with each step of my career development, as especially through the impact of Jumpstart’s programs I have recently started working for an amazing nonprofit in a role that allows me to combine my past expertise with the Canadian experience I’ve acquired (and am still collecting).  

I’m very humbled to be in a place where I can utilize the skills and experiences I picked up along my professional development whilst being constantly challenged to improve and break boundaries, receiving guidance from highly accomplished individuals in our endeavor to reduce humanity’s suffering, something this world can do with less.  

I am incredibly pleased with where I am in this insignificant life.  

I am overwhelmingly invested and engaged with the present, and at the same time looking excitedly forward to the future that is taking shape.  

And all of this would not have happened if I had not taken that great leap in 2019.” 

Listen to Ron’s story. This audio might be triggering for some to listen. Our intentions sharing this is to raise awareness about refugees and their journeys with resilience.

For more information about Jumpstart’s Refugee Talent Hub Program, visit https://jumpstartrefugee.ca/programs/talent/