Canada Reunited my Family from the Philippines
Marites Samontina, a single mother, finally has her two children with her after 11 years of working jobs away from the Philippines. Two years ago, she was permanently reunited with her children ages 13 and 9 when she was able to bring them to Canada and join her in Portage la Prairie. Her children had been residing in the Philippines with her parents while Marites created a stable and comfortable home for them in Canada.
Marites had always worked “out of her country” after having her children to bring money home to raise her family and support her extended family; as is the custom in the Philippines. She worked in Doha, Qatar as a childcare provider for many years before deciding to come to Canada in December of 2014. Landing in Winnipeg, she found a job being a “Home Management Support Worker” and was working within two weeks of her arrival. She also began attending schooling and settlement opportunities at Manitoba Start, which is a Settlement organization similar to Portage Learning and Literacy Centre in Portage la Prairie.
In 2015, Marites went back to school and graduated with her Health Care Aide Certificate from Robertson College. Just before she graduated from College, she applied to Manitoba Development Centre (MDC) in Portage la Prairie and she began her career with them in November 2015. She also decided to move to Portage la Prairie and found a basement rental suite which she lived in for six months.
In June of 2016, after working three jobs in Portage la Prairie towards her goal of establishing a home for her children, she was able to buy her very own house. All the hours she put in working for MDC, Visions of Independence and New Directions had paid off. Her next goal was to buy a vehicle and after a full year of walking to and from work or paying for shuttle rides, Marites was able to buy her own car in December of 2016.
One year later, in December 2017 her beloved children were finally able to move to Canada after years of being separated. Her children attend school at Yellowquill and Fort la Reine, and Marites is in the process of returning to school also. She will be meeting with a Red River Student counsellor in June to attend the nursing program locally.
Marites loves the City of Portage la Prairie as she feels very supported here by the entire community and Portage Learning and Literacy Centre. She believes that Portage la Prairie is a great place for immigrants as it is small and one can “work and save” for their future. She feels that even though there are issues in Portage la Prairie like other cities, “That the community watches out for each other and are community minded for our kids and families”. She also says, “We need to be more community minded in supporting our local businesses in Portage la Prairie.”
Marites is working to become a Canadian citizen at the moment and will be going to her citizenship ceremony on June 20th. She is so pleased to be in Canada and with a big smile on her face she beamed, “Canada put my family back together. I am really happy to be here-it’s a greener pasture to me. My kids are here with me. We have unity of my family here in Canada.
Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator