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Immigrant Stories

Meet the Sinha Family

Shanel Khaliq Darpan, 04 Jul, 2014
    Ajit Sinha is a Human Resource Leader at Sears Canada Inc. in Abbotsford.
     
    Harpreet Kaur Sinha is an Administrative Support Worker in the Women’s Resource Society in the Fraser Valley (WRSFV) in their Abbotsford location.
     
    Getting Here
     
    Ajit and Harpreet Sinha’s immigration to Canada is not the typical immigration story. Moving to a new country at the age of 50 is not an easy feat, but the couple decided to do so when they heard back from an application submitted nine years earlier. 
     
    Prior to coming to Canada the couple was based in Delhi along with their two children, Aditya and Avantika Sinha. Sinha had been a part of the Indian Air Force for 21 years after which he established himself in the corporate world reaching the level of Director/General Manager in Alcatel Lucent/IBM. Harpreet started her career as a school teacher in 1982 and is also trained as a Peace Educator. Now in Canada, Sinha works as a Human Resource Leader in Sears Inc. in Abbotsford, whereas Harpreet is an Administrative Support Worker at the Women’s Resource Society in the Fraser Valley (WRSFV) in their Abbotsford location.
     
    Sinha applied for Canadian immigration impulsively after retiring from the Air Force, but the time to make that hard decision came nine years later when they got accepted. Sinha says he has always had a penchant for challenges and at that point, his children were settled so he had no responsibilities left. 
     
    “Somewhere in my heart I felt God has given me another chance to prove to myself that ‘I can still do it,’” recounts Sinha. 
     
    When speaking about the initial challenges that they face now, he said that they are still on their first step of the ladder. Sinha moved here first in March 2012 and his family followed later. For Harpreet, it was his support that helped her, and she knew she had to go back to school to enhance her skills. “He led me to the ‘Angels of Abbotsford’ as Ajit likes to call them, who work tirelessly to make this journey of settlement in a new life interesting,” she said. 
     
    Sinha started in Canada with volunteering to teach basic computers at the University of Fraser Valley Upgradation Program. The first job he did was of a Customer Sales Representative at Sears Canada in Abbotsford selling televisions on basic wages. He moved on to becoming the Human Resource Leader within three months only, looking after two stores in Abbotsford. 
     
    Harpreet began her journey in Canada by volunteering for the Women’s Resource Society in the Fraser Valley (WRSFV). She also wrote for the Punjabi Patrika, a local Punjabi bilingual newspaper, on women issues. Now she has started working full time as the administrative support in WRSFV in Abbotsford. She is also a Teacher on call for ACS ESL classes in the evening for the Abbotsford Community Services and will also be completing a certificate course in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of the Fraser Valley in April 2014.
     
    Harpreet appreciates the freedom and diversity in Canada. “All Canadians are famous for their smile and friendly presence. Whether it is waving at you while crossing paths or greeting you at the store counter, there is always pleasantness around people here,” she said. 
     
    The couple credits the ‘Angels at Abbotsford’ immensely for their support available at all times. Sinha said that acquiring a job is hard since the “Canadian experience” is considered important and initially getting a degree here or volunteering helps in long term. For Harpreet, she had to focus on building her English skills and then obtaining a driver’s license. 
     
    Biggest Obstacle:
    Harpreet: I have been speaking English all my life but so much of dependence as a medium of communication was not there in India. In the initial stages, just being understood and understanding others was difficult. In addition, not only obtaining a driver’s license but also learning to drive in this new country was an obstacle. 
    Ajit: The industry does not even consider what skills an immigrant has to offer. 
     
    Resolution: 
    Ajit: Get educational credentials validated, volunteer in the industry and wait for the right job opening. 
    Harpreet: Join programs for enhancing your skills. Networking and getting to know people is essential. 
     
    Advice:
    Ajit and Harpreet: Do your research well, get up early in the morning and spend enough time working on your resume and cover letter. Think beyond the traditional methods of searching for a job. But in this process keep active, exercise and go out to see family and friends.
     
    Memories:
    Harpreet: I miss my house that I so suddenly left. When I went back there for my son’s marriage in January this year, tears rolled down my eyes because both I and Ajit had built that “nest” of ours with so much of care and passion.
    Ajit: India may be disorganized, dirty and extremely populated, but it has the warmth and spirit of celebration. It has my happiness and smile. I miss all the misery and thrill of my life having spent more than 50 long years there. I will continue missing India every day.
     

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