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Freedom and Dignity

Nadia Wiseman

“Every situation is, after all, unique. But whatever situation you are in, remember to look for some kind of peace that you enjoy. Life can’t be all challenges and hardships throughout.”

Last year, when I first arrived in Canada, I travelled with one small bag for myself and one small bag for my children. You can imagine how much could fit into those small bags. I had a few dresses for the kids, and a few other necessary items. Whatever we could fit into those small bags, we brought with us on the plane.

We came to Canada to be with extended family. When we first arrived, I remember asking myself, “what is this?” The cold and the snow were very different from hot, sunny Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the weather, and we didn’t have any warm clothes. Those first few months, I was sleeping in a thin nightgown, quickly realizing that it was serving no purpose at all. That’s when Single MOMtreal Organization really came in for me. Through the organization, I was able to get boots, jackets, and clothes, not just for myself, but for my family. The organization really came into my life at the right time and has impacted our lives greatly.

I am a single mother of two. I was happily married in Africa until 7 years ago when my husband got into a road accident. All this while, I’ve been taking care of my children on my own. It’s been a challenge, but today, I realize that I am capable.

Life has not always been easy. Our decision to move to Canada came with its own challenges. The way of life here is very different from the African way. In many ways, it is more difficult. In Africa, we have farms where we can grow vegetables to feed our families. In Canada, you cannot live without working a very good job. You have to buy everything for your family, and often, the money you make isn’t enough to cover all expenses. I have discovered that it’s really hard to be on your own and support a family. This is an experience I share with many members of the organization.

Adjusting to life as a single mother was also difficult for me. In my husband, I lost a confidante and a pillar of strength. When he was still here with us, he was a great encouragement for me. He pushed me to make sure I reached my goals and accomplished everything I wanted to do. In life, support is really important. It’s difficult to face the world alone, and when you struggle to support a family, it can sometimes be difficult to find your freedom and your dignity.

I have two messages to share: one for other single moms in a similar situation, and another for the donors who support this organization every day. I want to encourage other single moms out there to reach out to organizations like this for support. When you are isolated, without anybody to talk to when something is going on in your life, you really need someone who can understand your situation. Here, you can get advice relevant to you. It’s easier to express yourself with somebody who is in the same shoes.

I also want to encourage you to be bold, and stand for what you believe in. And the most important thing I want to say is be yourself. Share your ideas with other single mothers. Share your experiences. Don’t let somebody make you into to something you are not. Be the original you. I am slowly learning that if there is something you want to do in this life, then you should go for it. When you are alone in your house, isolated from people, it can be difficult to believe in yourself. But to be a single mom doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals. I realize I don’t need anybody to make me happy.

Many people think being a single mother is a negative thing, but this isn’t the case. Sometimes, married people can be very unhappy, especially if you are married to the wrong person. Even if you are married to the right person, there are always limitations and boundaries. Every situation is, after all, unique. But whatever situation you are in, remember to look for some kind of peace that you enjoy. Life can’t be all challenges and hardships throughout.

The other message I would like to send is to the donors that make this organization possible. Last year was our first Christmas in Canada. We were struggling. We hadn’t been out to a restaurant yet because I didn’t have any money. Through the organization, we were able to go to a restaurant for dinner on Christmas. It was a good Christmas. It’s an amazing thing to belong to a particular group of people who are so supportive and understand your situation.

I would like to say to Nadia, and to the organization’s donors: you are doing an amazing job. I don’t have the correct way to say thank you. Without you, the amazing things this organization accomplishes would not be possible. Many single mothers would not have the freedom to follow their dreams and to live with the dignity that is their right.

This organization is just so full of love and self-sacrifice and support. It has touched so many people’s lives. It connects single mothers from all different backgrounds together so they can support each other, and that is a very important thing.

Writer: Colleen Romaniuk