A Regina man has promised to help four former employees of Grace Within Community Care after they unexpectedly lost their jobs last month.
Harry Sagar met with Rhonalyn Bilango, Rosany Pedronio and their two colleagues on Friday.
He gifted them $1,500 each and promised to help them find new jobs.
“I’m very speechless,” Bilango said. “The hope, it’s almost there now.”
The four women lost their jobs as care aids when Grace Within unexpectedly closed its doors in mid-April.
Three of the women are still looking for jobs, and all four said they never received their last month’s wage.
In a statement, a Grace Within spokesperson said the company fell into financial trouble due to COVID-19.
“We attempted to get back on our feet but ultimately were forced to close our doors,” the statement said.
The care home would not comment on the unpaid wages.
“It’s really hard to get the money to pay my bills and to get money to buy food for my family,” Bilango, the mother of three, said.
Sagar had never met the women before Friday morning. But when he heard about their situation, he knew he had to help.
“These girls decided to go over the line of duty, go back to their place of work where they knew that they were not going to get paid anymore,” Sagar said. “That touched my heart.”
Sagar is the founder of Future Building Nursing Prep Centre, a company that helps internationally educated nurses enter the Canadian workforce without having to go back to school. The company assists clients with the assessment process, credentials and licensing exam preparation.
Pedronio was a registered nurse in the Philippines. She works as a care aid in Saskatchewan, but wants to get her Canadian nursing license—a process that can sometimes take years.
With Sagar’s help, she should hopefully be working as a registered nurse within a year.
“This is a big help for us to start again,” Pedronio said. “I know words are not enough. It’s not enough to say thanks.”
Sagar said he isn’t doing this for the recognition, but rather paying it forward.
When he moved to Canada it took him three years to get into his profession, he said. People supported him along the way and he doesn’t want to see anyone else struggle through the process.
“Being an immigrant I faced all these situations by myself, there were uncertainties, we didn’t know if we’d be able to bring food home,” he said. “It is so daunting and treacherous for highly educated people to get back into their profession.”
Bilango received her caregiver training in the Philippines. She is now taking an online medical office assistance course that she hopes will lead to new opportunities.
She has applied for jobs and is waiting to hear back.
“Even though we’re still in a tough situation, people came to us to help and to support,” she said. “We are very lucky and blessed”