Stories of resilience and support at citizenship ceremony in Saskatoon
Thousands of new Canadians are taking their oaths of citizenship this week at ceremonies across the country.
Komal Majathia was among the new citizens in Saskatoon. She was surrounded by family, including those who have become family since she arrived in Canada.
Majathiya received help from her co-worker Tina Doell when she was confronted by a racist customer at her workplace.
"He told me to my face that I don't want a brown lady to touch my food and I was about to cry, and then [Doell] stood up and she had a big fight with that guy. She was just so mad at him, she asked him to get out of the store," Majathia said.
The act of kindness turned into a lifelong connection.
Majathia turned to Doell for support when she experienced a miscarriage, had a car accident, and later gave birth to her children.
"My two daughters, one is four, the other is one, both of them were held by her first. So for them, they are the grandparents," Majathiya said.
Doell said she feels lucky to have this relationship with Majathia, and to have been able to support her as she settled into a new country.
"We feel very privileged that we have this bond. It's just been a wonderful journey to be on and we couldn't be more happy to have them in our life," Doell said.
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Ebiyeagbai Maroi was also at the Saskatoon ceremony. She said she arrived just before the pandemic, which made navigating a new country and culture difficult.
"My journey has been so overwhelming, coupled with the winter and the pandemic. So as a new immigrant in Canada it was very overwhelming. There were a lot of difficulties trying to learn a new culture," Maroi said.
Maroi wrote a book about her experience, titled Adaptation: The Pandemic Learning of a New Immigrant Family. She said being indoors during the peak of the pandemic pushed her and her family to write down their experiences, to share their stories with the rest of the world.
Maori acknowledged that the immigration and citizenship processes can be tough, but advised people to stay strong.
"Just keep moving, keep pushing, no matter what the experiences you are going through, no matter how difficult the situation could be. Just keep pushing, you're gonna make it," Maroi said.
Mohammad Najmul Hussain was also at the Saskatoon event. He said he has a good job now, but it wasn't easy to get there.
"I applied to at least 50 jobs," Hussain said. "Everywhere I applied at that time, I was thinking that I need a job and I need some Canadian experience so that I can go on."
He now works with an NGO that helps other people get jobs and settle in Canada.
For all of them, the citizenship ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the life they've built in the country they've chosen.