|PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN|
Sunday, May 10, 2015
FIFTH IN A SERIES from *Working For Change.
At the age of 21, her home was broken into at gunpoint. The thug threatened to return and attack her. This was the end of the road for Acsana.
With only a small backpack containing a few shirts and a photo of her family, she fled Bangladesh for New York after her father sold what he could to purchase airfare. Eventually landing in a refugee shelter in Buffalo, New York, workers there arranged for her next move. She boarded a bus and was never told where she was going. Her journey ended in Toronto.
Alone and penniless, Acsana learned that in order to sponsor her family, she needed to earn a minimum of $56,000. She worked over 17 hours a day at three jobs, often sleeping in an old car.
In 2003, her home in Bangladesh was attacked and her mother killed. No one was ever charged. She managed to bring her father and brother to Toronto where they now live together as a family. Her childhood and circumstances has given her the strength to face anything. “I believe in myself, I can deal with any situation given all the obstacles I have faced in life” she says.
Acsana is a quietly confident woman with a great passion for people. She attends George Brown College and is hoping to go to Ryerson next year for Social Work. Acsana found her voice while enrolled in a programme run by *Working For Change, called Women Speak Out in the Parkdale area of Toronto. Through the programme she has become an advocate for poverty, working conditions and refugee needs.
*Working For Change provides education and employment opportunities for people disadvantaged by mental illness, addiction issues, poverty, homelessness, violence and newcomer/immigration challenges. For more formation, please visit www.workingforchange.ca