Just months after arriving from Algeria in 2015, Karima became pregnant with her second child. But soon, marital troubles brought on challenges she could not expect.
“He completely, completely changed,” she said of her ex-husband. “He filed for divorce. I was five months pregnant.”
After giving birth to their child, Karima said she hoped the father would change his mind, but he has not. Now, with a 15-month-old and seven-year-old, the single mother struggles to provide for her small family. While she’s scheduled to begin job training in February, “right now, I have no source of income,” she said.
She explained that she tried to apply for social assistance, but missing documents have delayed the process. The money she does have, she said, goes entirely to paying for rent and her children’s daycare. And with no car, as she’s in the process of obtaining a driver’s license, mobility is an additional challenge that she faces.
“I’m ready to do all that I can to find opportunities to work, opportunities for my kids,” Karima explained, “because it’s not easy.”
Karima said the $125 cheque she will receive from the Montreal Gazette Christmas Fund will help pay for food. Every year, the fund helps thousands of individuals in need through the winter season.
Still getting used to her new city, Karima said she’s not familiar with opportunities available to low-income families for the holidays, so their plans are still up in the air. She did stress that some groups for newly arrived immigrants, such as CARI Saint-Laurent, have helped her through the toughest parts of her transition.
“After my husband left, it was very hard,” she explained, saying that she suffered physically and mentally during that time. But through that, she said she learned a powerful message: “Women are not weak. Faced with problems, faced with obstacles, they can do a lot. … They can jump high.”
How to help
Donate online: www.christmasfund.com. Mail or drop off donations to Montreal Gazette Christmas Fund, 1010 Ste-Catherine St. W., Suite 200, Montreal, Quebec H3B 5L1.
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