Finding the right person to guide you on the long journey towards integration
“When you arrive in a country thousands of kilometres away from your home, where you hardly know anyone, and you have to start making the necessary steps to obtain a work permit, permanent residence status and eventually citizenship, there is nothing more enjoyable than to find the right person to help and guide you,” explains Christine Mukuna, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “You often need someone who can coach and advise you on the steps required to complete the many forms required by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada.”
The right person for Christine was Léocadie Kabogoye, a settlement worker with the Conseil Économique et Social d’Ottawa Carleton (CESOC), an organization that assists Francophone newcomers.
When Léocadie and her family came to Ottawa and Burundian refugees in 2010, they too had turned to CESOC for support. Now the tables have turned and for the last five years, Léocadie has helped newcomers like Christine in their long journey towards integration.
“Léocadie is very professional, punctual, and cheerful and is an extremely good adviser,” adds Christine. “She typifies Canada’s reputation as a country that is favorable to immigration. She takes the time needed with each of her clients, shows a great deal of empathy, while at the same time remaining professional. Léocadie is the kind of person who is very hard to forget. She is a true welcoming ambassador for Ottawa!” Christine knows she can call Léocadie at any time, with any question. She has also become like a sister to her.
Every day Léocadie seems a minimum of four clients like Christine, many of whom are in a state of shock. Sometimes her clients just need sometime who will listen to them and guide them through the maze of services, programs and paper work. She shares her large network with them.
“I am so happy to receive this award,” remarks a glowing Léocadie. “It fills me with pride as I care deeply for Christine and all my clients and it’s so satisfying to see them grow and succeed. I personally benefited a lot from settlement agencies when I first arrived in Canada. This job is extremely rewarding and has given me a chance to give back and have a positive impact on the lives of refugees and other newcomers.”