A Story of Hope

Ximena Marky SWIS News

“I left the Philippines to have a better opportunity for my family”.

Illuminada Reyes landed in Canada five years ago. She arrived alone. She and her husband Francis, a practical nurse in the Philippines, wanted to give their three children a better life. They were thinking of their whole family, of course, but they were especially concerned about their daughter Jasmine. Jasmine was born blind and mute. What kind of future could they imagine for her if she wasn’t able to communicate with the world?

And so, Illuminada came to Canada. She worked as a caregiver and through her work was able to save money to bring her family. For five whole years, her only goal and motivation were to see her husband and three children in Canada. Finally, this year, all of her family was approved as Permanent Residents. They joined their mother in Toronto. Together again, at last.

Happy ending

Once the family reunited, Illuminada began searching for resources for Jasmine. She desperately wanted her daughter (and the family) to learn sign language and gain access to important services for the blind. In that search, the family came across a member of CultureLink’s Settlement Workers in Schools. She provided them with information, contacts and referrals. Illuminada was tremendously relieved. Filled with hope, joy and inspiration, Illuminada rejoiced in the comfort of knowing that they would have the resources to bring a better life for her daughter, which would mean a better life for the whole family.

“The staff was very friendly, warm and welcoming to us all. She helped us, a newcomer family, feel relaxed. She was open, caring, very supportive, compassionate and non-judgmental”. Illuminada soon brought her sister, also a newcomer caregiver, as well as her sister’s family to CultureLink. They will also receive support for employment and settlement services.