Stories of Hope: VC’s Story – “If I was not here at The Salvation Army, I don’t know where I will be right now.”

“When I was in the Philippines, I really wonder why all the good and bright ones are going out to the foreign countries. I realized that I have a dream to go out too. I really grabbed the opportunity when my husband’s family wanted me to be a caregiver.”


VC’s Story of Hope

When the chance arose for VC to leave the Philippines to become a caregiver in Canada, she was filled with joy and excitement.

“This is for the family and also the family of my husband [and their] ambition to come here.”

With the pressure of being the provider for her family and moving to a new country where she did not know anyone, VC was optimistic about the new life she could pave for herself and her family.

“This is a good contract because [it paid] $17 per hour, 8 hours of work, 2 days off…everything was stated good.”

“I arrive here [Vancouver] February 4th, 2019. I was so happy I have my own room because in the Philippines, we are living in the floor with mosquito nets.”

However, her employer’s masked deception began to crack and show through. The young child that VC as tasked to take care of was extremely high risk.

“I never encountered such a high risk person. I can’t sleep because he is having seizures in the middle of the night. He was in a GJ (Gastric Jejunal) tube, he has a pulmonary problem, he had a heart bypass operation…”

The room VC was promised was a lie. She was expected to always sleep on the floor in the playpen beside the child with a camera monitoring, wake up at 5:30am to prepare breakfast for the other children and complete all house chores.

“Sunday I go to church. I thought I was having the day off because I read the contract. The said no, I don’t have a day off.”

“So it started…24/7 with the family…we are inseparable. I was crying to my husband, can I go back home, I cannot take this agony here.”

VC’s husband could only muster up to tell her to “bare the pain for the sake of us.”

“I sacrificed a lot. The pain, the abuse, physically, emotionally, verbally, financially—everything. Why don’t you also help me? I’m tired, why don’t you find work…you stopped working because the salary I have is bigger?”

Frustrated and exhausted of carrying all the burden on her shoulders, VC felt hopeless.

“They give me $750 for the salary for the whole month. Another 250 is being taken by my husband in the Philippines.”

Absolutely shocked and devastated by the pay, her employer insisted that they had this agreement confirmed via Facebook messages.

“It was not stated there [on Facebook], they are fooling me around. I really feel hurt…they saw on my face I was really sad…they really put me down and degrade me. The word that triggers me is that [my employer said] if something happens [to their child], I am the one who is liable…I said to myself I need to get out of this house.”

“Because I am not a refugee, the Migrant Workers Centre gave me the number of Propel.”

“I connected with Illuminate and by the last week of May 2021, I was here [enrolled in our Illuminate Anti Human Trafficking programs] and I undergo mental health programs.”


After receiving the support and care from our Illuminate program, VC was looking for work again. Unfortunately, another deceitful and manipulative employer in Ontario lied to her again, exploiting her labour for multiple months. As VC is worried about her lack of employment impacting her Permanent Residency application, she reconnected with Illuminate in September of 2022 and filed a case against her employer.

“I connected to Illuminate again. I said to myself why is this happening? It’s very difficult to have boundaries and assertiveness in my culture in the Philippines. We [are constantly told] to have to sacrifice. Assertiveness and having boundaries is very crucial for me because when I receive my work permit this time, I will not make those mistakes again.”

After going through the Illuminate programs, VC was ready to transition into the Personal Development Plan (PDP) Program at The Salvation Army Belkin House. While VC progressed through our PDP program, one of her goals included obtaining a Resident Care Attendant (RCA) designation.


“I really want to go to school to have this registration.”

“By May 2023, I started enrolling and I asked [for] help here at The Salvation Army [Belkin House]. I asked to apply for assistance with school and I was granted. It was Alvin [Belkin Communities of Hope Director of Community Development] who called the school. Micah [VC’s Caseworker] told me I need your student number and everything because we are going to pay for you.”

It was through an education grant that VC was able to receive her RCA designation. At the time of her enrollment, VC was working as a casual at a senior care facility and part time doing medical cleaning.

As the RCA program required her to complete a practicum placement, VC would have to take time off her jobs.

“I said to Micah I can go to school, but I cannot pay because I am doing my practicum now. I ask help again from The Salvation Army.”

Belkin House was able to cover VC’s entire tuition for the rest of her schooling.

“By January this year 2024, I had my credentials. I am going to graduate this May 2024…praise the Lord! I enjoy what I have now. I finished my RCA, I have my license and I also win the case against my employer. I let go [of] everything…the pain I let it go. The Salvation Army really give me inspiration to live a second chance of life. Before I really want to lose my life. I really even stopped breathing when I was there in my employer’s house.”


Self-motivated, driven despite barriers, she pressed on,” were some of the words Micah used to describe VC. With the support of multiple Belkin Communities of Hope programs and staff, VC was able to regain control over her life and feel restored with hope.

“I went to church, I went to counselling, I went to therapy—everything. I said to myself, I thank God that I’ve been here at The Salvation Army because no organization is helping me…nothing will help because I’m not a refugee. I cried a lot asking for help. It’s the Salvation Army who brought me here [Illuminate], who gave me food and shelter and education and healing—everything. This is why I call this my mansion.”


Date of interview with VC: April 5, 2024

Please note names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Instagram: @_belkincommunitiesofhope for more Stories of Hope

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