“Madiha’s Story: Calling Caledon Home”
By Cassandra Briscoe, CCS Volunteer
Twenty-two year old Madiha has been living in Caledon for almost two years, and wouldn’t change it for the world. Although it is not as diverse as cities like Frankfurt or Toronto, Caledon welcomed her family with open arms and gave Madiha’s parents the sense of belonging they had been searching for.
“People in Caledon are so friendly and welcoming. We were nervous at first, as we weren’t sure what to expect. Even though my mother wears a hijab, she feels respected and comfortable around Caledon,” Madiha said.
Madiha’s parents are registered for LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes that CCS offers to adult immigrants. These classes provide necessary resources for immigrants to grasp the English language, giving them the opportunity to learn and excel in the working world.
Madiha on the other hand, had no problem learning the language herself. Having lived in three different countries over a 22 year period, Madiha is fluent in four languages. She first learned her mother-tongue of Urdu and Punjabi, which is the language she speaks to her mother and father.
Moving to Germany with her family at a young age, she quickly became fluent in German, residing in the European country for 12 years and completing most of her school years there. Her family then moved to Canada for a chance at an even better life, with more job opportunities to provide for their family.
Moving to a new country, leaving behind your friends, and not knowing a single word in English provided a challenge, but it was a challenge Madiha and the rest of her family accepted graciously.
“You have to explore new things to see what you like”, Madiha said. “My parents are very open to new experiences and that’s how I try to be.
Studying to be a teacher now, Madiha wants to help other children the way her teachers helped her. She tries to focus on the positive people who have inspired her experiences; like people at CCS who have helped her parents learn English and teachers, neighbours and community members who have given her family so much. Caledon’s charm all comes down to the people who make it such a warm and welcoming place to call home.