by Dale Sproule
Miranda moved to London, Ontario from Iran in 1997, joining her husband, Masoud, who had immigrated six months earlier. He worked as a rug salesman – while trying to get a job in his field.
With her Bachelor of Social Work degree, Miranda had worked as a social worker and teacher in Iran. But in Canada, despite taking ESL classes, her language skills were not good enough for her to find any employment at all.
Although skeptical about her ability to find work, Masoud helped Miranda get a babysitting job, by sitting beside her and telling her what to say on the telephone. He even went with her to interviews. Finally, she was hired. She spent several months learning English from her five year old charge, before moving to Toronto.
Miranda worked at survival jobs and took courses to upgrade her computer skills.
In 1998, she got an “information interview” at the Association of Social Workers in Ontario. They suggested volunteering and, as usual, Miranda jumped in with both feet, volunteering at such organizations as the Red Door Shelter, Culture Link and The Family Services Association.
Her son, Parsa, was born in 1999 and when he was one year old, she went back to Iran. This was a very important step for Miranda because it made her realize how much she liked living in Canada. She came back determined to make the most of her new life.
Through friends, Miranda met a Canadian woman who was a manager at Neighbourhood Link/Senior Link. She was having trouble filling a social worker position and when Miranda said that she was a social worker, the woman arranged an interview with upper management. Impressed by Miranda’s social work experience, her volunteer background in Canada and her enthusiasm, they hired her.
Now Miranda Yousefipour helps 400 to 500 people a year get settled in Canada. She loves to share her own settlement stories to assure people that they are not alone in their trials and tribulations and to encourage them to volunteer and get involved in their new community. She wants you all to know that your own success story may be closer than you think.