For three years, Diala, a Palestinian refugee, worked as a registered nurse in a cardiac care unit in Beirut, Lebanon. However, the lack of civil rights and violence made it impossible for her to continue living in the country. She wanted to start a new life in a place where she could prosper and be safe.
When a friend referred Diala to Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), an organization that connects skilled refugees with employers worldwide and helps them relocate to other countries, she was excited about the opportunity. Diala’s fiancé was also a nurse and could also benefit from TBB. Knowing it was possibly their only way out towards a better life, Diala and her fiancé applied.
Fortune intervened as there was a job opportunity that matched their skills and expertise in Canada. They got married before leaving Lebanon and travelled on a work visa, landing in Toronto in September 2020. Due to the pandemic restrictions, they had to comply with the mandatory federal quarantine for 14 days and didn’t have time to explore the city and interact with other people.
To help them settle, Talent Beyond Boundaries recommended Diala reach out to Windmill Microlending. Windmill has partnered with TBB to offer its clients access to affordable resettlement loans of up to $15,000 to pay for the costs associated with immigrating (including visas, travel and medical checks) and start-up costs before receiving their first paycheque. Less than a month after arriving in Canada, she applied and was approved for a loan to pay for things that would help them settle in – rent, utilities and some furniture.
“Windmill was really helpful. Being able to communicate via email and phone was convenient. Staff was easy to work with and always available to answer our questions,” says Diala.
Diala and her husband work as personal support workers (PSWs) and already have plans to become Canadian permanent residents and registered nurses (RNs) in Ontario.
Five months after receiving the Windmill loan and with the money they have saved from work, the couple repaid the loan. “We wanted to pay the loan as soon as possible. Not only because it was good for our credit history but also because we wanted Windmill to help other immigrants like us settling in Canada,” indicates Diala.
For Robert Ndoping, Manager, Client Success, “Diala is a good example of a client who took our financial literacy advice seriously. Her experience shows that when newcomers receive financial literacy early enough after moving to Canada, it helps them in financial planning.”
Diala’s journey is just starting in Canada. However, she and her husband have clear goals: work in a hospital, further their education and buy a home.