Faiza Hargaaya (IRCOM)
Faiza Haygaaya is no stranger to the hardships recent immigrants and refugees face when coming to Canada. Faiza and her family escaped civil war in her native country of Oromia, only to face the burdens of language, social integration and debt upon arrival into Canada.
She talks about those experiences in Give Voice, Open Your Ears! It is a book that was written through the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba's (IRCOM)
afterschool program. The book incorporates writing, visual art and music as a means for participants to express their life experiences.
Haygaaya now works as an Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) Ambassador. As an ambassador, it is her duty to speak publicly to help build a dialogue between new comers and Canadians. She feels this book helps to do just that.
Here's a small passage of Haygaaya's story that appears in Give Voice, Open Your Ears!:
My parent's didn't speak English and they had five small children to raise. My father had the burden of paying off our family's transportation loan of about $7,000, which was used to buy our plane tickets to Canada. Many refugees receive transportation loans in order to come to Canada and begin their new lives in debt. My father ended up finding a labour job that paid minumum wage. On that small amount, he provided for our family of seven and slowly paid off the loan.