Since 2021, Clare Jagunna, a Nigerian based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has been helping pregnant African women arriving in Canada with no friends, family or prior experience as residents settle down.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Jagunna, through Hands Lifting Hearts, a not-for-profit foundation founded in 2018, has helped 30 immigrant women and families, most from Africa, settle down after their arrival in Canada.
Her organisation provides pre-birth, labour and post-birth support for women.
READ ALSO: The Other Side of Japa: Nigerian Tweeps Share Pains of Separation From Loved Ones
“We realised coming to a new country where you’re probably alone with very little information can be difficult. We need to integrate them into the community to make sure we settle them well and make Canada a new home,” Jagunna said.
Jagunna and her small team of volunteers also help this category of African migrants find accommodation, jobs and connect them with the mental health support and the medical help they will need while starting a family.
“Sometimes we help connect them to doctors from their home countries, just to make them feel comfortable. When they see someone with the same colour and same language, they are able to interact,” she said.
“They are more open and it’s like transitioning from home to home, not from home to a no man’s land.”
Hands Lifting Hearts assist the immigrants in battling loneliness and separation from family.
READ ALSO: REPORTER’S DIARY: N3,600 to Stand… An Unpleasant Experience Using the Corrupt Lagos-Ibadan Train Service
“Back home, with a new baby, everybody is all over you. They want to help in every way, and when the baby comes, everyone is excited. It’s like that adage: one woman bears the child but the whole community looks after the child,” she said.
“We drive them to medical appointments, to shopping, make a baby plan. We are also there in the labour room.”
Now, Jagunna receives lots of referrals consistently, and her organisation is getting busier as word spreads about the help she offers.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.