SEED’s Transportation Loan Pilot Program Assists Refugee Family
Noor Ibrahim was 13 when he and his family fled their home country of Somalia and entered Kenya as refugees in 1990. ”It was like a prison; it wasn’t safe”, says Noor. After more than 20 years in the refugee camp, Noor, who was now married and the father of five children, was determined to change his life and the life of his family; to provide a brighter future for his children.
Noor, his wife Kuresha, and their children, arrived in Canada in July 2014, where Noor felt he no longer needed to worry that someone would kill him or steal his children. “It was my luck to immigrate to Canada. When I immigrated, I felt happy and worn.”
“I came from a different country with a different language, political and social systems, and weather. It was hard to adapt” says Noor. Part of the process of immigrating to Canada as a refugee is the assumption of a Transportation Loan with payments expected within 30 days of arrival in Canada, and full repayment expected within six months of arrival. The pressure to meet the deadline to repay these loans, some up to $10,000, causes stressful conditions for newcomers who are also trying to adapt and secure employment.
Through a referral by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), Noor was accepted into SEED Winnipeg’s Transportation Loan pilot project. SEED staff, along with an interpreter provided by IRCOM, supported the Ibrahim family in managing their multiple transportation loans.
While receiving support through the Transportation Loan pilot project, Noor discovered SEED’s Access to Benefits program, which assisted him in applying for Disability and Primary Caregiver Tax Credits to help support one of his children.
I came from a different country with a different language, political and social systems, and weather. It was hard to adapt.
Through his contact with SEED, Noor feels he has gained significant supports and obtained valuable money management skills that will assist him and his family to successfully adapt and flourish in their new country.
Future goals for Noor include pursuing a career in Social Work through the University of Manitoba.