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Immigrant Stories

Immigrant story: Meet the Prasad family

By Petrina D'Souza, 18 Jul, 2017
  • Immigrant story: Meet the Prasad family
 
Vince Prasad is a retired senior federal employee with over 30 years of public service 
 
Veena Prasad is retired
 
Kids Ronald Prasad and Ashlene Renita Lake are married and work at Fraser Health, Vancouver
 
 
 
Vince Prasad migrated to Canada in 1969 from Fiji, which was a British Crown Colony back then. “I chose Canada because it is a peaceful nation; Canadian values include freedom, respect for cultural differences, and a commitment to social justice,” shares Vince on his move to this country. He also had some relatives living in Canada whom he stayed with upon arrival. “My wife Veena and son Ronald followed later, my daughter Ashlene was born in Vancouver,” adds Vince.
 
Like most immigrant families, the Prasads faced problems while seeking employment due to lack of Canadian experience. Back in Fiji, Vince worked with the City of Suva, and prior to migrating, he also served for three months with the US Peace Corp at the University of Hawaii teaching Fijian Hindi language. Eventually, he got a six months opportunity to work at the City of Vancouver in the electrical division, accounting section, and permits and licensing. From there, he moved on to the Unemployment Insurance Commission and took up the position of debt collector. “This new role helped set my career in motion as a federal public servant,” says Vince. 
 
In 1981, he was offered an opportunity to join Canada Customs Operations, Pacific region as a regional customs collector for Port of Vancouver, BC and the Yukon, now known as Border Services. Today, Vince is a retired senior federal employee with over 30 years of public service and a recipient of Canada 125 Medal in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada.
 
Vince is spending his retirement days through volunteering in the community and helping those in need. He has voluntarily taken up prominent roles at various organizations, namely National Association of Federal Retirees Vancouver, Faith Fellowship Church, Collingwood neighborhood House, and Burnaby Hospital Foundation, among many others. 
 
The former federal employee believes he has fulfilled most of his dreams. He has had an enriching experience in Canada so far; his kids are happily settled with successful careers; and he is now a proud grandfather to seven kids. “Canada provides an opportunity to anyone who is willing to work hard and keep moving is your ladder to success,” says Vince. 
 
In conclusion, he quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. saying, “Every one can be great because anyone can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
 
 
Biggest obstacle faced so far in Canada:
 
I had a health episode three years ago. I thank God for his grace and recovery so that I could continue with my journey.
 
Resolution made for your self or family:
 
It is truly a privilege for me and my family to be able to welcome and help our new neighbors. Our resolution is to not let an opportunity pass by to say kind words to people we meet. Be genuinely interested in others and to make people we meet feel that we regard them as person of importance. This gives me an opportunity to make a contribution to society and also instills a value of giving and caring.
 
Advice for immigrants:  
 
Be prepared to take up any type of work initially to get established in the new country. Take courses through night school to advance one’s choice of skills. I encourage others to volunteer to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn. Work hard and try not to get discouraged as Canada is a wonderful country and an opportunity to move forward.
 
Memories of homeland:
 
Fiji is a beautiful country, with an abundance of greenery, tropical climate, and has good beaches and seafood which I miss as well.

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