When Maryam fled Iran two years ago after facing persecution for not wearing her headscarf, she didn’t know just how challenging her life would become.
Maryam and her children left so quickly that her husband was unable to join them – and he can’t come to Canada until she has permanent resident status, which could take years.
Back in Iran, the government continues to target Maryam’s family, with their bank accounts frozen. The money Maryam counted on to help her with her new life is gone. She is now living life as a single parent – and she knows she needs to do whatever she can to support her family here.
While trained to work with special needs children, Maryam has only been able to find part-time work at a daycare.
“My children never ask me for money,” said Maryam. “They see my burden. They see my struggle. They know we are just surviving.”
Every week, Maryam hopes that she’ll get enough shifts at work to pay rent. But as a part-time employee, that doesn’t always happen.
Over the Christmas holidays, she didn’t work for 10 days, with full-time staff getting priority. After Christmas, Maryam fell ill with COVID, keeping her away from work for even longer.
“I am not paid if I am sick; there’s no personal leave or sick leave. Because I am part-time, I have less work. My income is very tight. There’s no chance to save money. If I don’t work for one day, it really has an effect on me.” – Maryam
Maryam relies on food she receives at House of Friendship’s food distribution program at Sunnydale Community Centre, and help from staff there. Some days, she meets with her Family Outreach Worker, Fariba, who helps her in times of crisis, including a time when Maryam fell behind on her rent.
You make all of this possible! Your support is vital to ensure that women like Maryam, and their families, can get the help they need.
Despite her many challenges, Maryam continues to move forward with hope. She has started the process to bring her husband to Canada, and is working towards her permanent resident status.
In the meantime, she has started helping other newcomers like her, bringing them to Sunnydale Community Centre and getting them connected to the critical services that your faithful support provides.
And while she waits, she dreams of a future where her struggles become a memory.
“When my husband comes, then I can rest. I need to continue forward now. My children look to me, and how would they feel if they see that their mother is weak? I need to be strong.”
With your support of our neighbourhood programs, you can help families like Maryam’s continue to find the resilience and strength they need to keep going.