Her Own Boss: hope that can be touched
It is a well-known truth that starting a new life in another country is not easy. The challenges may vary according to the personality and life of each woman. However, there is a transcendental factor: sisterhood. That support, empathy and solidarity among women is key to getting ahead.
On an emotional side, discovering yourself in a new place where significant links and safety nets built throughout an entire life are absent, is intimidating. On a professional level, facing a new system that gives priority to those who have been trained in, is exclusion. And being vulnerable and outside the system is something that limits the development of any human being.
However, courage and resilience are virtues easy to find in immigrants and that becomes the best allies to look for alternatives. It is at that moment when the idea arises to undertake something of your own, to open your mind to discover the benefits of the new system and dare to undertake. And that is also the perfect time for sorority.
I discovered the Her Own Boss! project through Immigrant Women Services Ottawa. Although at that time I did not have a clear idea about what to do with my future, the fact that I learned that I could count on the support, counselling and companionship necessary to develop an idea as a small businesswoman was like opening a window for some light to enter in the way of making decisions and building a new life. In addition, the first interview with Janet Kranz had a lot of warmth and encouraging information that I returned home with the illusion of daring, because I was certain that I would not be alone. Finally, someone would explain to me how the system works in my new country and not only that, could connect me with the right people and institutions. I literally felt that there was an outstretched hand.
Throughout the sessions at HOB, the idea of entrepreneurship has become tangible. The beginning has been to learn to see our interior as women and discover there the skills and virtues that will permeate our small businesses and then we have been able to hear the keys to build our own path and have offered us the necessary support network.
Specifically, I have found knowledge, networking, ideas to seek financing and even organizations to which I can go for advice at each stage of my venture. In summary, I found something very similar to the formula for making a map with which I can start right now or when I am ready and have the conditions to do so. That is hope that can be touched with the hands.
The women who started a life in a new country do not need them to do everything for us. We need you to approach us to listen to what we can do, and want to offer, we need you to talk to us about the benefits that are in our new country because we want to build in it, because we are grateful and we want to grow in our new home. With the right sensitivity and support, we can grow together and improve any society.
Carlemy Salinas is a journalist from Salvador. She is in the planning stages of creating her business in Ottawa, Ontario.