Why We Exist
A Wife’s Story: “Canada was my dream. I don’t know how this dream turned into a nightmare for me. Married 12 years ago in India, I was left behind to raise two young sons when my husband immigrated to Canada. Finally when I joined him 5 years later with my children, my life turned upside down. With the stress of settling in a new country and the financial difficulties, his alcohol binges increased, and the occasional casual slaps escalated to violent beatings.
I covered the bruises or avoided being seen. At first it was only me, but then also my older son. I didn’t speak English, knew few people, and felt as though there was nowhere to turn. I didn’t know the ways or systems here, and they don’t understand my culture. What was I to do?
I could not go back. My mother always said “from now on your husband’s home is your heaven or hell, you have to live there”. One night his anger was so fierce, I ended up in hospital. The police asked if I wished to press charges. But what would I do then, who would support me? What would my family say? How would we manage – with my sons in school, and no income and no one to turn to ? What do I do, where do I go?
Then a lady at the hospital connected me with PCHS. The PCHS worker came to see me at the hospital, and soon my life started getting better. I felt connected, understood, supported and stronger.
The case worker was Punjabi and I could speak openly in my language! She helped arrange counselling for me, my husband and my sons. I made friends at the Womens Support group, and my husband said he enjoyed and learnt so much at the Parenting classes, even about anger management! He said he was not as stressed since taking the financial literacy course, and I am happy he is attending the AA meetings. I now feel I have many friends and my children will have a good life in Canada …”
A Father’s Story: “I didn’t understand why Child Services knocked at our door, or what allowed them to walk through our home and take our daughter away, or declare us “unfit” parents.
We are hard working parents and have been in Canada for 10 years. We want to give our children a good life! I work two jobs and my wife works one job. Sometimes we are both not home in the evenings, when the children come home from school. Then our older son who is 15 years old looks after his younger sister, that is the culture, as the older brother he protects and looks after his little sister. And then, government officers took our daughter away. They said she complained to her friends and the school teacher that her brother hits her and was mean to her. That is her brother, why would he do that? They tell us our son said that he hated looking after her.
They say that we will need to meet with a case worker and an investigation will be launched. How will I get the time off from my work? I may lose my daughter ? Where did we go wrong, what did we not understand, how do we get our daughter back?
That is when we approached PCHS, and they helped us understand the Canadian laws, and worked with Child Services to help get our daughter back home. We have been attending the Punjabi Parenting classes, and have learned new skills to support our children, to teach them to be resilient and strong, to succeed in Canada. Our son now also volunteers with PCHS. We are thankful we have been able to keep our family together.”
Twilight Tears: “I am 78 years old, I live with my son in Canada, as a widower, I am very lonely. My grandchildren only speak English which I do not understand, my son and daughter in law are at work all day and in the evenings they have very little time for me. I cannot visit my friends or go to the senior centre as my knees are bad and I cannot walk so far to the bus stop. If I complain, they tell me ’what more do you want, we called you here didn’t we.’
However since my children and grandchildren have begun attending the PCHS parenting class my life feels better. My grandchildren ask me to teach them Punjabi, then sometimes even ask about India and what it was like for me growing up.. Although they don’t understand all I say, I like very much that they are trying to learn Punjabi, and someday …”
At PCHS we help support our clients in their own language and within our common cultural context; we teach families skills and tools to strengthen relationships and succeed in Canada. We help them navigate and connect with the appropriate community resources and agencies.