When Ellie and her four children left the Sudan to seek refuge in Canada, they had to leave everything behind – their home, their family, their culture. By the time they came to our Niagara Falls Emergency Shelter, they had already given up hope. Unable to accommodate Ellie and her family in Niagara Falls, we found room for them in our YW Family Shelter in St. Catharines. Ellie was finally able to give her children a place to sleep at night again.
Our advocates worked with her for two months, as she overcame her cultural obstacles. Ellie could neither speak nor read English and she had religious beliefs and food needs that needed to be attended to. We were able to set her up with a translator through our community partners but a new challenge arose: the translator – a man of Sudanese culture – felt that there were instructions that didn’t need to be translated to her because she is a woman. At times, we had to use her 10 year old son as a translator to ensure that all of the information was relayed to her.
Ellie is a strong and brave woman, and with the support of our dedicated advocates, she was finally able to connect with the community groups and service providers she needed, such as food and furniture banks. Today, she has a beautiful three-bedroom apartment that she is proud to call her own.