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Before emigrating to Canada from Uganda in 2015, Mercy Komuntaro had already earned her bachelor of science in information management. She had a good job. But like so many immigrants to this country, credentials earned back home don’t always make the grade — and Mercy couldn’t get a job in her field without going back to school for five years.
“My kids were also newcomers to Canada. I ended up having to help them get into the system to do online classes. I thought I would do it, too, so I signed up. I figured if everything is online, I might as well start something.”
That was simply too tall an order. She needed to change course, but she wasn’t sure which path to follow.
After a four-year stint in Yellowknife, Mercy relocated to Toronto during the pandemic. Her three kids, aged 20, 15 and 13, were able to join her there — and since they were all learning online, she decided to join them.
“My kids were also newcomers to Canada,” Mercy says. “I ended up having to help them get into the system to do online classes. I thought I would do it, too, so I signed up. I figured if everything is online, I might as well start something.”
After connecting with Contact North | Contact Nord Education & Training Advisor Samantha Fisher, Mercy realized she needed to start by getting her high school diploma.
“I wanted to know what was the right path,” Mercy says. “It seemed to me the only option was to go to high school. I thought if went back to high school, I would have wide opportunities so I wouldn’t be limited.
“I got an email from Samantha and she set up a Zoom meeting. We went through all the options. She convinced me — she said, ‘You can do it. You can do it!”
Since then, Mercy has been working hard to earn her diploma
She passed the first prerequisite class, finished chemistry and has nearly completed biology. Ultimately, she has her sights set on a career in practical nursing, and will turn to Sam again soon for help navigating the requirements.
“I’m really looking forward to the future,” Mercy says.
“My only prayer right now is that I don’t give up, that daily life doesn’t distract me. When it’s been a long time that you went back to school, the motivation is a worry. I’m a single mom and I work nights as a PSW so I can be with the kids during the day. I pray that I do this and finish this.”