Scotiabank will match up to $5,000 for the PICS COVID-19 Relief Fund in support of the Women in Crisis Counselling Support Network.

The PICS COVID-19 Relief Fund in support of the Women in Crisis Counselling Support Network needs your support. From now until October 31, 2020 you can double your impact! For every donation made, Scotiabank will match it up to $5,000.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see people finding ways to take care of each other during these challenging times” said Satbir Cheema, CEO of PICS.

Here is a touching yet very real story from a woman in our Harmony Home sharing her struggles in life.

A survivor’s story

Single mother Anita, had two children under the age of five when her husband passed away in a motor vehicle accident in their home country. The husband had a history of addiction and was abusive to Anita throughout their short marriage. After his passing, Anita and her two children were completely alone with minimal support from Anita’s parents who themselves were poor and had a large family to take care of. She desperately needed financial help and agreed to come to Vancouver Canada on her mother in law’s insistence. On a visitor visa, Anita and her two young children arrived in Canada to live with her late husband’s family which turned out to be a big mistake. She was now alone in a foreign country with two little children to care for, a massive language barrier, no immigration status, and a family that she only knew in passing. She spent most of her time doing housework or accompanying her mother in law to pick blueberries at a farm. Anita and her kids were treated very poorly and given barely enough to eat by the family. The kids often accompanied Anita to the blueberry farm in the scorching summer heat when other kids their age would be enjoying summer activities like going to the playland or swimming with friends. The abuse progressed further where the father in law started hitting her kids; and one day when she couldn’t handle it anymore, Anita scared and panicked, took her kids and left the house barefooted. She had no ID, no money, no food and no idea where she was going to go next. After a while the kids got so thirsty that they knocked on a random house to ask for a sip of water. Thankfully, the inhabitants of the house were young professionals that suspected something was wrong and intervened by notifying the authorities. After that Anita and her kids ended up at a domestic violence transition home where workers were able to substantially help her. They connected her to lawyers who helped her obtain identification, and stay in Canada under humanitarian grounds. One of the happiest days of Anita’s life was when she got her immigration letter approving permanent residence to her and her children. The letter provided a massive relief to her fears of deportation and ending back in poverty with no resources. After getting her documents and valid paperwork, she now sees a future for her kids in Canada.  She’s currently well settled at Harmony House where with the help of community support and donations she feels secure with her kids going back to school soon, and the beginning of her English classes. She’s determined to work past her multiple personal barriers and make a life for her children and herself in Canada. Anita still has a long way to go before she can be completely independent and she needs ongoing support to help with the growing needs of her young children. This is where community services and support are needed to provide for Anita and others like her who have survived adversity and have yet to overcome many challenges in the days to come. 

This initiative from Scotiabank is not only generous but very appreciative, we should all take this opportunity to double the funds that we donate towards newcomers in Canada who struggle to settle in their new lives, your support can go towards a vast majority of supplies, resources and services towards the women of Harmony House. Please consider giving today and have your dollar matched by Scotiabank.

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