After months of watching the news & seeing families with few possessions, reduced to walking, desperately trying to find anyone who would help & being rejected and discounted not just by people but by countries, I was really excited at the idea of helping. As a model who had traveled the world for almost a decade, I met and befriended many people from all over the world. At one point I had a roommate who had experienced war while living in Croatia. She and her family had to abandon their home and live in a forest while her father went off to fight. Our conversations opened my eyes to how families are effected by war and unrest. I have always had a sympathetic heart and participated in food drives and toy drives and other forms of donations but when I saw Leila's post about her initiative and how she could do more with some help I jumped at the chance.
Giving thanks, and giving back: As a refugee, I know there’s nothing more Canadian
Marianne Thuy Nguyen
Marianne Thuy Nguyen is a Toronto-based design consultant. She came to Canada as a Vietnamese refugee in 1975.
Before my brother was wheeled into a surgery that would attempt to remove a brain tumor he had been diagnosed with at age 28, my parents asked him a question: Did he owe anyone any money? This might sound like an insensitive thing to ask someone on his way into brain surgery, but it was meant kindly. They wanted him to be at ease; they would see to his duties no matter what happened. (It is hard to overstate the seriousness with which duty was treated in our family.)
My brother said he had only one debt: his student loans. He was part-way through his residency, and he had some years to go before paying off his medical school tuition. My parents gasped; they said they would pay it immediately. Any debt was serious, but a debt to Canada, the country that had taken us all in as refugees and given us loans for our education? This was a duty that verged on the sacred. We would repay it as many times over as we possibly could.
Canadians will give thanks for many things this weekend. As someone who boarded a boat at age 12 and travelled from a war zone into a life of safety and possibility, my Thanksgiving list is probably longer than most...
Read the full article in The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 10, 2015