Mariam Chatoo

Country of Origin:

Austria

Themes:

Immigration, Identity & Heritage, Adjusting to Life in Canada

Photos:

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Story

You know you have that feeling of excitement when you have butterflies in you tummy no matter how old you are. This is the feeling I had when I boarded a plane for the first time knowing that I am going to CANADA!

I arrived Toronto as a REFUGEE in 2006 from the Middle East. I had lived in the Middle East since I was six months old and stayed as a Ugandan REFUGEE for over 3 decades.

As a refugee I had access to everything except it was limited. I could only travel within the country as I did not have a passport. I could have a driver’s license & health card however; they would expire every 6 months. I had no legal paperwork except for my birth certificate.

When things were getting difficult there, I decided to approach the United Nations Office and ask them what the solution is. How long will I be in a country where I cannot call home? I requested them to contact the Canadian Embassy as my sister was living in Toronto. Sure enough, in a week’s time, I was called to the United Nations office that provided me with forms to migrate to Canada. 8 months later I got my visa and here I am!

I did struggle in the beginning looking for jobs; however the Canada made me feel like home and helped me around.

Why Canada? Canada is one of the peaceful countries in the world. It’s a land of immigrants where it has unique culture and diversity which can be found throughout the country. We respect one another & also celebrate every festival together. A country which has freedom to do whatever a citizen wants as far as it is ethically correct

Canada thank you for accepting me and showing me who you are! For making me believe that there is still goodness in this world as I had lost hope! Today, I am proud to call myself a Canadian!

Congratulations Canada on your 150 Birthday!