CEO Message: The bravery and resilience of our clients
Published November 1, 2022.
I am often struck by the bravery and resilience of our clients, but the stories that awe me the most are always the stories of parents. As the mother of three children, I wonder what immigrant parents of young children must go through as they settle into a Canadian suburb, perhaps in a second or third language, with no family or friends to rely on for advice about schooling questions or healthcare resources, and with a dwindling pool of savings. It must feel overwhelming, particularly when you have several mouths to feed and tears to dry.Recently, we looked into the number of newcomer parents Windmill is currently serving and how many children’s lives are being impacted. The results don’t answer the question of what it must be like to experience life as a newcomer parent, but they do hint at the impact of Windmill’s work beyond the individual clients we serve. Our active loan portfolio currently includes 1,603 parents across Canada. Those current clients are parents to 2,966 children.
On average, our clients with children have an annual income of $17,367 when they apply for a Windmill loan.
Consider the challenge of raising a family on an annual income of less than $20,000!
Our data reflects not just the financial challenges parents are facing when they apply for a loan, but the impact the loan has. Our former clients are parents to over 2,000 children, and those parents’ incomes increased on average by 3.3 times from the time they applied for a loan to the time they repaid it. Those 2000+ children are benefitting from their parents’ job satisfaction, mental health and community standing, as well as the stability, opportunity, safety and resilience that middle-class incomes bring.
Two such Windmill clients are Lakshmi and Anoopriya, a couple who came from India with their young family. They came for improved employment opportunities for themselves and better education for their children but they didn’t realize how lonely they would feel in Canada, or how much they would value the supports – both financial and moral – that Joyce, their Windmill Client Success Coach, would offer them.
Today, Anoopriya and Lakshmi have come a long way, both employed in jobs that are commensurate with their experience and education. Anoopriya is working as a software engineer, and Lakshmi as a senior system administrator, and they are settling into Canadian life with their young son Hayagreeva. After achieving their reaccreditation, they are much more confident and life feels much freer than before. Lakshmi told us: “I see everything as an opportunity.”
With record immigration targets, thousands of newcomer children will arrive in Canada in the next decade. By removing barriers to employment for their parents, we can play a role in ensuring the success of future generations of Canadians.
Claudia Hepburn, CEO