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International Women's Day 2016

Photo Source: Rex Features

Today we celebrate International Women's day, a day filled with recognizing social, economic, cultural and political achievements made by women around the world. With that in mind, a volunteer from our marketing team would like to share a personal message.

My name is Margo Klimowicz and I was born in Poland. In 1989, our family friends sponsored my family and I to start a new life in Canada. We landed at the Edmonton International Airport on October 31st – Halloween!

Luckily, I was born with a great sense of adventure, so at the tender age of 8, I was a girl with not a care in the world and no idea of the sacrifice leaving Europe would mean. I reflect on those times quite differently as a 34-year-old woman and see my mother’s courage amidst certain strife. My mother’s work ethic and sacrifice has been key to the person I am today—a professional photographer. On this International Women’s Day, I honour my mother and all of the brave women who are coming to North America from Syria and all around the globe.

In the 1980s, Poland was under communist rule, and the economic situation was so poor that my parents had to wait in line for hours at the grocery store for a loaf of bread. These are the realities of a country under strife. Listening to my parents’ and grandparents’ stories about those times makes me wonder at the brave decision they made to leave our home country. 

And although we were welcomed in Canada, there is a sense of community that we left behind. My name is Margo now—but my birth name is Malgorzata and nicknames include Malgosia and Gosia. My family and closest friends affectionately call me by these names, and since they are from my mother tongue, I have a sense of belonging whenever I hear them. There are many things I miss about Poland and I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like. I wonder if the refugees fleeing Syria wonder whether they’ll see their motherland again.

As we welcome new families into Canada, I hope we are aware of the challenges they will be facing, from basic to more trivial difficulties including language barriers, education equivalency, lack of income, house security, and acceptance. The amount of work that new immigrants have to face is emotionally exhausting. Immigration puts a monumental strain on even the strongest families.

No matter what our struggles were, I know my parents moved us to Canada for better opportunities, and out of gratitude, I choose to give back to others that are facing the same challenges.

On this International Women’s Day I honour my mother. As I volunteer with Peace Geeks going forward I am proud to know that I can help new families during their transition. After all, that’s a big part of what life is about – helping each other and caring for those we love.

Mar 8, 2016
Category: Thematic Issues