Leaving the Congo alone: my journey of courage and healing

Hi my name is Natacha. I’m from the Congo. I came to Canada on March 23rd 2016 leaving my life and family behind. I am not living with my parents anymore because I was abused. It was hard for me, as a young girl, to come to Canada by myself. But I was treated like I was an animal. I suffered and even to today, it still makes me think and feel. My family made me feel bad and told me I could not survive without them. Being with my parents left me stressed and unhappy: I could not imagine my life happy anymore as I was always depressed. I finally left after a physical fight.

Then I moved to the Greater Toronto Area with a cousin for a month and things did not work out because she too had a family to take care of. October 1st 2018, she brought me to a shelter and left me there. It didn’t take long for my school to find out I was living in a shelter, so they helped me find a better place to live and a job. Their support helped me find a safer situation and I knew that people at my school loved me.

I am working a part time job at Swiss Chalet where I work hard to pay for my life. Prior to that, I was working at Burger King as well. I could no longer do both jobs and study so I left Burger King. To save for school, I have been walking to work many shifts. With help from my school and my work, I can rent my own place now.

There is absolutely no possibility of reconciliation with my family. I tried before to go back to their home. They tried to convince me that their treatment of me was normal, which indicated that I would be placed physically and mentally in the same state as I was in before. That environment is not safe for me and therefore I need to be away from them.

I am going to college this fall. I want to be independent and successful. I am going to live my dreams. One dream, a big dream, was to graduate from high school. I did that. I am so happy. Now going to college. That means fulfilling a promise to myself. I believe in myself. I will be doing my dream job as a flight attendant. I will be so happy to move on with this.

My life taught me very hard lessons. I face my fears. I work hard and never give up. Yes, I cry and then I talk to the people I trust. I keep my goals in mind. I still want to do modeling. One day an agency will see me and reach out to me. I want to make new friends who will walk to classes with me and dance and laugh. I want to make a life for myself that keeps making me proud. I am doing this. I know if I can find my way, then others who feel alone can too. Find the people you trust. Never give up. Go through the fear.