April 28, 2003
The following story was written by Teresita Ancheta, from Vancouver, BC. Teresita is originally from the Philippines and has been in Canada since 2000. This spring, she will receive her Landed Immigrant status. Teresita is an active Board member of the West Coast Domestic Workers Association.
I have been away from my family and the Philippines for 15 years. I arrived in Canada in October 2000 from Athens, Greece. I came here as part of the Live-in Caregiver Program of Immigration (LCP). This program will give me my landed immigrant status if I complete 24 months of full time work as a live-in domestic worker within three years.
I came to Canada after hearing many good things about it. The desire for a better tomorrow is what keeps my dreams alive. I want to improve not only my personal future, but the future of my family as well - that is the most important reason.
The conditions of the LCP are very strict - I'm not permitted to do anything (eg. study part-time at the local community college) except work and live with the employer.
As one of the volunteers of the West Coast Domestic Workers Association I have been able to learn more about my rights in an alien culture that often seems insensitive and contradictory. The association offers education and free legal services for domestic workers like me. I took the opportunity to take an English tutorial. Amea Wilbur is the coordinator of this program. I started last February 2002 and continued for six months until the teacher had to go back to school and the classes stopped. I called Amea about the matter and she told me she was looking for more ESL tutors. Amea didn't stop and kept searching for volunteer teachers. One day she asked me if I could come and share my work and tutorial experience during the teacher's training, which I did. I saw the excitement and enthusiasm of the nine teachers during that day. Just recently Amea gave me another teacher.
I enjoy the tutorials because that's where I am challenged. The teacher can hear, listen carefully and focus only on me and can tell me what I need to do to improve my English especially my grammar. By doing this, I am thinking ahead to when I will be finished and can go back to the career I want to pursue. I would like to explore other options also. The tutorial can be my avenue to other opportunities when my contract as a domestic worker is finished. Learning English as a second language can go on forever, just as people go on learning throughout their lives.
I would like to thank Amea Wilbur, the energetic worker of Frontier College/ WCDWA for her sincerity and untiring assistance. I am encouraged by her desire to help and educate people who are in need. I personally acclaim her for what she is doing.
[This story was taken with permission, from Words in Common/Mots en commun, January 2003, published by Frontier College.]