Mubra Asghar is a single mother who is proud to be creating a better life for her daughter.
Two years ago, Mubra was having trouble finding work and ended up on social assistance. It wasn’t until she heard about the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI) that things really started to look up.
SPEI offers up to 12 months paid tuition for eligible single parents receiving income or disability assistance, child-care costs, transit costs to and from school and child-care costs for one full year after participants find employment. “SPEI is very helpful for a single parent like me,” Mubra said.
Through SPEI, Mubra was able to take accounting courses at a nearby college, which complement her professional accreditations from her native Pakistan. “I couldn't get back to school without this support. It was impossible for me.”
Going to school full-time and then finding more time to study was challenging with a busy seven-year-old daughter, but Mubra made it work. Her daughter, Laeqa, would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and look for her, only to find Mubra still awake, studying.
The studying paid off: Mubra achieved over 80% in all of her courses and was hired full-time by an accounting firm in Burnaby just two weeks after she finished school.
Since starting work at the beginning of September, Mubra is busy with her work and commute, furthering her education on Saturdays, and, of course, taking time to be with Laeqa, who is in Grade 2.
“Every day, I save time to play hide-and-seek or read or just play with her,” Mubra said, but she is still working hard for an even better future for her daughter and has plans to take more courses to perfect her English. “I give Laeqa love and I tell her, ‘This is for you.’”
Mubra wants her daughter to have all of the opportunities that a country like Canada has to offer them. “It is a motivation for your kids if you go to school and get a job, then they can see it. They can get good ideas from you.”
“Life is totally changed. It is very exciting,” Mubra said now that she is working and no longer on assistance – which is all thanks to SPEI. “I really appreciate SPEI's program and am thankful for this big opportunity.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports including up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement, transit costs to and from school, and child-care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment. Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, over 4,200 single parents have become involved in SPEI and 785 have already found employment.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative.