Jade, a Refugee Claimant from Nigeria

When Jade and her daughter moved to their new apartment, they owned little more than the clothes they were wearing. That first night in their new home, they slept fitfully on the bare floor covered with a thin blanket, cold and uncomfortable.

I was simultaneously helping two clients downsize. In my work as a trained professional organizer, I often turn to Freecycle.org or Free Stuff NDG to find takers for giveaway items. That time, I tried out a new Facebook group called Refugee Claimant Donations Montreal. When I posted a twin bed, Jade immediately replied that she and her daughter were moving to an apartment and were missing beds.

She was able to visit both my clients with a mover she found. Between my clients, she picked up twin beds (one from each), pillows, bedding, a kitchen table with chairs, love seat, and a carpet. An email to friends yielded all kinds of helpful items: dishes, blankets, clothes for Jade and her daughter, soap, shampoo, a shower curtain and bathroom rug, sponges, toys, lamps, etc. Of course, my family and I have been helpful as well.

Jade, fleeing an abusive relationship where her child was literally sold and her life endangered, came to Canada to find safety for herself and her daughter. She is a medical doctor who aims to study French and certify as a doctor here in Canada.

She was raised to be self-sufficient, never to borrow or take from others. The current situation has forced her to shift her thinking. She received two pairs of boots, both worn out. Unfortunately, one of the boots broke when she was out, so she had to remove it and walk home barefoot. “Thank God it wasn’t a snowy day,” she wrote me in an email.

The road ahead will be long for Jade (not her real name) and her daughter. While anxiously awaiting permanent residency, they are buoyed by the support received from my family and our friends and contacts.

Why not help a refugee claimant or a refugee or anyone… It’s such a great feeling. My grandparents were immigrants from Poland and the Ukraine who arrived in Montreal and they surely received support from the Jewish community. This is my small way of paying it forward!