Help change lives like Bukky’s in Winnipeg now.
Bukky’s first pay stub hangs in a frame on her bedroom wall. She earned more in three days than she was getting in a whole month on social assistance.
“It was like billions of dollars to me. I wanted to wake up and see it every day.”
Bukky’s pride is well earned. She worked hard to get here. Not so long ago, she and her infant son were homeless.
After living with domestic violence for two years, Bukky managed to flee to a shelter.
“I had no money. I had no job. I had a 10-month-old baby. Since I got married, my life had been dominated by my husband. I didn’t even think I would survive on my own.”
After three months, she was able to find more stable housing. Stable income was another matter.
While at the shelter, Bukky told her counsellor she wanted to go back to school.
“That was the only way I knew how to get myself out of this situation.”
A registered nurse in Nigeria, Bukky hoped to restart her career in Winnipeg. Before she could do that, though, she’d have to complete a six-month program that prepares internationally educated nurses to work as registered nurses in Manitoba.
Bukky learned about a financial support program at SEED Winnipeg supported by United Way Winnipeg donors.
It helps newcomers adapt or upgrade their existing skills and certiﬁcations so they can work in the same trades or professions in Winnipeg.
She qualiﬁed and received a $2,600 loan—thanks to a partnership between SEED Winnipeg and Assiniboine Credit Union—which helped her pay for books, professional clothing, a computer, and fees.
“If I could, I would go to every person’s house and say thank you for making this possible.”
“I’m so grateful they took a risk. Because I was unstable in every way—physically, emotionally. I thought nobody would want to loan money to a woman with a baby with no income, no job, in a shelter. They didn’t judge me but rather they encouraged me. They said, ‘we got your back.’”
It took a little longer than six months, with a few hiccups. Twice she needed money for extra classes and the fees to register for the exam—close to $1500 in total. Both times, she was able to turn to the program for help.
“They were always there for me.”
Bukky graduated and on March 2, 2017 wrote and passed her exam. She now works as a registered nurse and has repaid the loans. She plans to return to university to pursue a degree and become a nurse practitioner.