Annie Kashamura-Zawadi arrived in Toronto with her five children, aged between 9 and 19, on October 6, 1999. She only had $20 in her pocket, but her heart was bursting with hope and possibilities.
Before arriving in Canada, Zawadi recalled that she "had nothing left but my faith." She had fled an abusive relationship and, in response, her husband had taken their children away from her and had made sure she was rendered jobless and homeless. This happened while war was raging in her home, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Zawadi had been told by the office of the Canadian High Commissioner for Refugees that she and her children did not qualify as refugees, but she refused to give up. Her persistence paid off and she was told that they could emigrate to Canada if someone sponsored them.
"I knew only a miracle could save me," said Zawadi. Her prayers were answered, she said, "when the Anglican church signed that magic paper." That same week, they left for Canada.