Client Stories

Working once again in her chosen field

Gay-Marie Lejao-Cabrera (RN, BN) held the position as Dean of Nursing in the Philippines. Despite having a good job, it was difficult to make a living and she decided to follow several of her colleagues and move to Canada.

In November 2011, Gay-Marie arrived in Winnipeg with her husband and three children, with a dream of building better opportunities for her family.

Upon arrival, Gay-Marie and her husband, with no home, vehicle or employment, had to find a way to support their family.

“The transition,” she says, “was a shock for the whole family.”

By December, Gay-Marie had found work as a home health care aide. And though she was grateful for the job, her income was nowhere near what she could earn as a nurse.
Gay-Marie learned about SEED’s Recognition Counts loan program from a classmate.

“She came here quite discouraged” recalls SEED Winnipeg’s Dennis Mamattah. “She wondered how she’d ever get through the long process to becoming a nurse.”

But in March 2012, Gay-Marie resigned from her job and began the complex journey to attain recognition of her credentials in Canada. This process included multiple language programs, mountains of documentation, assessments, and a national exam.

Completing these steps was expensive – and money was tight.

Recognition Counts Loans for Skilled Immigrants provides funds of up to $10,000 to help pay expenses related to qualifications recognition, upgrading and training.

Gay-Marie applied for a Recognition Counts loan and used the funds to pay for costs to register with the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba – the first step to full-time employment as a nurse in Manitoba.

Determination and good fortune enabled Gay-Marie to complete the credential recognition process in less than two years.

By July 2013, she had a full-time position as Registered Nurse and has since bought a home and stabilized her family.

She also paid back her Recognition Counts loan in less than a year.

I want to thank SEED for spearheading this program,” Gay-Marie explains. “I was successful, and others I’ve met are now nurses and are so grateful. I hope the program will continue to help other skilled workers like me.”

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