ESL funding cuts impact those who want to succeed

I began taking ESL courses at Camosun College in January. My experience so far has been excellent. They teach us far more than language.

I am a mechanical engineer with a specialization in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. For many years, I was a sales manager for an air conditioning systems company in Saudi Arabia.

In 2010, my wife and I made the decision to move our three daughters and one son to Canada for all the opportunities this amazing country could offer us. My wife was accepted to a masters program at Western University in London, Ont.

After initially coming to settle my family, I returned to Saudi Arabia to my job, so I could continue to financially support my family.

It was very difficult to be separated from them. They were always asking me to come over and join them, telling me how wonderful Canada is. I needed to provide for my family, but I soon realized my job as a father was more important than my job as an engineer.

I quit my job one year ago to join my family and reunite with them after three years of being apart. After my oldest daughter was accepted to the University of Victoria, we all moved out to the West Coast.

I began taking ESL courses at Camosun College in January. My experience so far has been excellent. They teach us far more than language. They teach us about the culture: how to greet someone, how to write a resume, etc.

It’s not just ESL – it’s how to adapt to the new society. These are extremely useful skills I am very grateful to be learning.

I was shocked when I heard they will no longer be offering these ESL courses after next year. I will likely be able to finish my courses before the program is eliminated, but what about those that will come after me? How will they get the training and skills they need to succeed?

We don’t want to sit at home and wait for handouts. We want to do something good for this country. We want good jobs. We want to pay taxes. We want to support our families. Programs like ESL support new immigrants and help us succeed. We want to contribute to this wonderful country. Please give us that chance.

Hossam Rezk



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