Photo Credit: Grace Mukadzambo | Go Fund Me

Community Shows That Standing Up For One Another Works

Ministry said community pressure helped stop deportation

Refugee holds down four jobs with non-profit social agencies in Courtenay

Sometimes the people who give the most, end up having to deal with the toughest circumstances.

This has been the case for Courtenay resident Grace Mukadzambo.

Mukadzambo, 38, came from Zimbabwe as a refugee four years ago and has been giving back to the community ever since.

She works four different jobs with local non-profits to make our home a better place. She works in a supportive housing program, at a domestic violence shelter, as an addictions worker, plus at a program for youth with disabilities.

That’s 80-100 hours every week she’s putting toward caring for others in town. She has been sending about two-thirds of her earnings back to Africa to support her brother and mother.

However, for all her outstanding efforts, she was set to be deported in January. She had been waiting for a decision on her permanent residency application.

Luckily, the community has come together to ensure she gets the “Grace” she deserves.

Her co-worker, Paul Bozenich, started an online fundraising page to raise money for her legal fees.

It took off — and has raised close to $7,000 so far. A petition has recorded over 10,000 signatures.

Mukadzambo has many supporters. Local MP Gord Johns, faith groups, and other social organizations are all supportive. The Courtenay City Council unanimously supported making an urgent request to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser that Mukadzambo not be deported.

It worked.

The Immigration Ministry said pressure from community members was a factor in the decision. 

Mukadzambo recently found out her deportation order had been canceled. She can now apply for temporary residency which provides a pathway to permanent residency.

The stay in deportation is “great news,” Courtenay Coun. Wendy Morin told the Times Colonist. Morin made a speech to City Council in Mukadzambo’s favour, noting that she fears violence if forced to return to her home country.

“It’s amazing. I did not expect to have that much support. I’m beyond words as to what I can say to the community,” Mukadzambo told the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle.

Mukadzambo may be safe for now, but there’s still a way to go until she can relax and call Courtenay her permanent home.

That’s what will happen if her friends and neighbours in Courtenay have any say in the matter.