Hamidat Abuabu-Kasum had a good life in Nigeria. She had her master’s degree in accounting and rose through the ranks at a community bank to become Head of Finance and Admin. But by then it had become too dangerous to stay in Nigeria. She was forced to leave behind her career – and her ten and
seven-year-old daughters – and flee the country.
Like many refugees, Hamidat scrambled to get re-established in her new home in Canada. It wasn’t easy,as any newcomer will tell you. But she was determined, and one of the first things she did was enroll in a six-month accounting program at Skills for Change.
Shortly after that she got her first big break. “I knew that volunteering was a good way to get Canadian experience and discover new opportunities,” says Hamidat, “so I signed up with the Furniture Bank.”
Before long they offered her a job.
But she hadn’t given up on becoming an accountant. “I knew I had to get my designation if I were to work as a full-fledged accountant here.” That meant getting her CPA, and that meant $15,000 to pay for her courses, books, and expenses.
But how to come up with that kind of money? She didn’t qualify for OSAP, because they don’t pay for professional designations. She approached a bank, “but they couldn’t help me either.” That’s when she learned about ACCESS.
She applied for a loan from ACCESS in January. Her application was soon approved, and they gave her some useful advice on managing her finances and credit rating too.
Hamidat started her first course in May, and will write her final exams in October. Things are still tough for her, as she misses her two daughters terribly. Yet she looks forward to eventually bringing them to Canada: “Things will be a lot better once I get my CPA.”