In June last year, I landed in Vancouver, a city that I have never visited, in a country that I’ve never been to. I didn’t know anyone. I came with limited financial resources, and unlimited fears.
The picture you can have in your mind is a 20-year-old youth with an abusive family history and no support. Coming to a new country without much money, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic (this story has a good end – I promise!)
I was born to parents who didn’t know how to give me the love and support I needed. They were dealing with their own struggles and hardships and expressed the pain they experienced through abuse and neglect. When you grow up with these experiences as a child, you develop a belief system where the main core is: people can hurt you and destroy you, nobody cares about you or your feelings, and you are worthless and hopeless.
I broke easily and couldn’t succeed academically or socially.
When I was 15, I left the house for a boarding school and my healing journey started there. After a while, I had more hope, but I struggled with finding support. There aren’t many options for people like me in my home country because the government budget doesn’t get to these places.
I’m grateful to my mother for two reasons. The first is that she understood that she couldn’t be the mother I needed. The second thing is that she’s Canadian – which means I am too! It gave me so much hope.
I set myself a goal: at the beginning of May 2020, at my 20th birthday, I would move to Canada. Best birthday gift ever!
But, instead, I got a pandemic!
I lost my job and started to run out of the little money I had. But I still had my goal! So, when I turned 20, the sky opened again, and I landed in Vancouver. I rented a short-term place and started to work on the papers I needed for job hunting!
Every time I went Downtown, the only thing I could see was all the people in the streets. I was terrified. After a while of not finding a job, I started to stress out because I didn’t know where I should go and started to run out of money. I had no way of going back to my home country, and nowhere to go to in Canada.
Luckily, I heard about Covenant House Vancouver from an online search and decided to check it out.
I visited here twice, trying to understand what this place was. Both times, I was welcomed with a smile, a listening ear, and a hot meal. The third time was for an intake to the Crisis Program. I still remember every moment of the tour the Youth Worker gave me. We walked around this beautiful building and I felt so thankful for all the abundance around me.
You, Covenant supporters, and the incredible staff who work inside and outside of this building, give me so much hope. Thank you.
The first thing you hear when you go through the doors at Covenant House is: “You’re in a safe space!” For the first time in my life, I feel like I can calm down and stop the survival race. I can’t find the words to describe the feeling and confidence you gain when, for the first time in your life, your basic needs for safety and stability are met.
I went through an amazing journey in the past few months since I came here, and I want to say thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am so grateful for it!
Thanks to you, I can confidently say that I am on my way to create a different life for myself – a life of independence, where I will have financial savings that give me stability and confidence. I can focus on therapy, achieve my personal goals, and build a support system and strong emotional resilience.
I can now build myself a future that is worth living. Thank you for helping me to change my life.