Client Stories

Transportation Loans

Imagine having to leave everything behind and start over with nothing in a new and strange place, combined with a debt of up to $10,000 owing as soon as you arrive.

When war broke out in her home country of Somalia, Adar Haji fled the country with her three children. She arrived in Canada in January of 2014 with her son Abdifatah and daughters Maryam and Shuleyba. They had received government Transportation Loans for air fare and medical exams totalling over $6,000. Grateful for the opportunity to rebuild their lives, Adar and her family were determined to repay this debt to the Government of Canada. However, trying to balance the loan repayments and meeting the family’s basic needs on a limited income was stressful and seemed impossible at times.

SEED worked in partnership with IRCOM and other settlement service providers to launch the Transportation Loan Financial Literacy Pilot Project this past year and supported 40 low-income refugee families to help repay those loans. Participants attended a series of six Managing Money workshops and two family problemsolving sessions to discuss individual financial situations. Participants received up to $750 in matching funds on loan payments they made during their time in the program. Maryam states that workshops helped her family to set goals and to talk about money “in a good way.” Adar feels the matching funds “took some heavy duties from me.” With help from the program, she is relieved that she is now on track to pay off her loan by the end of 2015. Once she is debt-free, she plans to save money towards starting a business to improve her family’s financial situation and provide much-needed jobs for other newcomers.

{the matching funds} took some heavy duties from me

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