Having escaped an abusive relationship in her native country five years ago, Lima is thankful that she was able to move to Canada from Eastern Europe.
Now, she is equally thankful to have the opportunity to go back to school, creating an even brighter future for herself and her daughter.
“I am grateful to be able to come to Canada and to go back to school,” Lima said.
With no family or other resources in Canada, she turned to income assistance. From there, she was referred to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI) through her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre.
SPEI offers up to 12 months paid tuition for eligible single parents receiving income or disability assistance. Also covered are transit costs to and from school, child care costs for the duration of the program and up to one full year after participants find employment.
For Lima, that means tuition is covered, as is her five-year-old daughter’s before- and after-school care.
“Would this be possible without SPEI? For me, no.”
In order to meet employers’ needs, Lima is taking an accounting post-degree diploma, which builds upon her financial management degree that she received prior to coming to Canada. After finishing the program in April 2017, she will be in a strong position to get a job in her field. She might even look at becoming a chartered professional accountant one day.
In the meantime, she is working hard to be a good role model for her daughter.
“I am teaching her how to be happy in life, how to improve herself,” Lima said.
It has been a hard task for Lima on her own. But her faith and the supportive staff at the WorkBC centre have helped the whole way. It also took a lot of dedication and hard work, so being focused on what she wants and staying organized have also factored into her success.
Having received so much help herself, Lima has a strong desire to help others.
“There are so many stories,” Lima said, acknowledging the challenges that many of her neighbours and friends also face. She hopes that some of them will consider the SPEI program.
“I am very, very grateful for this chance. It’s amazing,” she said.
Launched in September 2015, SPEI provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports to assist them overcome barriers and get back into the workforce. To date, more than 4,100 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 750 have already found employment.
Read more stories of single parents getting support to build a better future for their family: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/single-parent-employment-initiative-success-stories
For more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/featured-services/services/employment-initiative-for-single-parents