In 2006, Erika Infante Pizarro and her husband decided to emigrate to Vancouver, BC from Mexico where the security situation was deteriorating. Although Erika had some education and job skills from Mexico, she had difficulty finding work in Canada:
I know my knowledge and experience in Mexico but you come here and they ask you, “Do you have you have experience? Do you have English experience?” And I don’t have anything. That was very difficult.
These barriers made Erika and her husband feel isolated, but they decided to stay and try to make it work. She started working in a restaurant to bring in money but continued to search for opportunities for herself and to help her children succeed in Canada.
There was a waiting list to enter the HIPPY program. A year and a half later, a new new HIPPY site opened at MOSAIC and Erika was able to enroll her family. She was a participating parent for two years and then decided, while continuing her work at a restaurant, to apply to become a Home Visitor.
Erika was thrilled to be hired. After three years as a Home Visitor, Erika still has a deep passion for helping other families in the community:
When I meet with the mothers, I enjoy that because they feel happy that they are successful with their children. And we have a connection, like we are together and we work together to do this job, because if they don’t want it I can’t do my job.
HIPPY helped Erika to improve her English and increase her skills in many other areas through the professional development training program. Erika was an enthusiastic participant in the training. She worked hard to take advantage of the support offered by HIPPY to transition to another job after her term as a Home Visitor was complete.
Erika is now employed as Family Programs Facilitator at two Neighbourhood Houses and is a permanent resident of Canada. If she had not learned about HIPPY, Erika is certain that she would still be working in a restaurant. But now, with her new confidence and skills, she would like to do a course to become a teacher’s assistant and, eventually, a teacher:
Back to Because Mothers MatterHIPPY gave me this opportunity. And now I want to do everything and I want to put all my time into this and learn. Because when I learn I know more people and can help people, and help women in the same sort of situation as me, isolated and everything. Sometimes when I was with them for the first time, I saw my face in them, isolated and thinking “I can’t do this, I can’t do this.” But after, they say “I can handle this more and more” and now my mothers are the same like me, they are starting to look for jobs and start to look for courses and start to be motivated.
August 7, 2018
2016 Honoured Mother