A St. James Town resident gives back to her community after a difficult settlement in Canada
By Nina Badwal
– March 2022 –
Anuradha Yadav, a native of Mumbai, India had only two months to prepare for her move to Canada after learning her husband was granted a permit to work here. Pregnant with her first child, she landed in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the winter of 2015. A difficult birth required Yadav to move to Toronto after nine months as her baby boy required medical attention from doctors in this city. After this move, the new mother realized that Canada offers free support services for newcomers.
“We don’t have such a system back home [in India]…I was totally unaware about the community centres and the service providers to get help to settle here,” she said. “Unless someone tells us, we don’t have any idea that we can go there.”
Yadav said before she left India, she was under the impression that as soon as newcomers arrived at a Canadian airport, they got brochures providing information about settlement services and where to get assistance. When that didn’t happen, she felt lost during her time in Winnipeg.
“When I moved to Toronto, we got to know about the YMCA and we registered there, then I got to know about other things but by that time more than one and a half years passed.”
After settling down in St. James Town, a friend of Yadav told her about the Wellesley Community Centre; also through a friend, she found out about the multi-service hub, the St. James Town Community Corner – where she has been volunteering for the past two years as a Community Ambassador for Vaccine Engagement and Community Outreach.
Now Yadav is focused on giving back to her community by informing newcomers of the health and social services offered to them by The Corner. She hopes to make their transition to Canada smoother than hers. “We go to each building, they have notice boards – we take off the old flyers and put up the new flyers and if we meet someone while doing this, we speak with them and tell them what’s going on, [ask] if they need any other services.”
Yadav said her volunteer work at The Corner helped her gain knowledge of the health care system in Canada and about “the vaccine rollout and outreach.” She feels it made her more understanding of other people’s problems and a better listener.
“I got to know about how we need to be patient and we should not be judgmental. Because we don’t know the actual story behind that person; if we listen to them and got to know about them, only then we can help them. No need to be judgmental. That’s the most important thing I learned in these 2 years.”
Thank you Anuradha Yadav for sharing your valuable time with us – we appreciate it!