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Immigrant Success Stories


EUGENE LUANDA
Social Worker, Healthy Baby Healthy Children program, City of Ottawa

Teacher, translator and humanitarian worker in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo … then an immigrant to Ottawa, where he worked in low-ranking service jobs and also enrolled as a university student. Eugene’s résumé hints at a fascinating life story and the rather unusual path that he has had to take to get to where he is today.


The key for Eugene has been to seize every opportunity he could to make a better life for himself, his wife and their seven children, three of whom are adopted.


When the genocide in Rwanda took place about 16 years ago, many people fled to the Congo. That was when Eugene went from a teacher to a refugee worker for three different United Nations organizations, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and UNICEF. When circumstances became too difficult, he and his family were forced to flee. They eventually made their way to Ottawa. That was in 2000.


The key for Eugene’s successful integration into the community is the wealth of resources available to him and his family. By accessing the various services at LASI World Skills and other local immigrant-serving agencies, Eugene was determined to make a better life for himself and his family in his newly adopted country. “Information is key!” he says. “I attended job search workshops, went to orientation sessions, prepared résumés for every kind of job possible and visited agencies.”


While attending university part-time to complete a bachelor’s degree in social work, Eugene held down two part-time survival jobs to make ends meet.


After completing his degree, he found a job as a clerical worker at the City of Ottawa. When a social worker position opened up at the City, he applied. After recognizing the value of the similar work experience that he brought from his home country and the soft skills he would be able to bring to the position, the City promoted him to the position he now holds.
Eugene is a keen advocate of newcomer programs and services that are offered to skilled immigrants like him.


“Attitude is important,” advises Eugene. “As internationally trained professionals, we bring value to the table. Don’t forget to use the resources available, as they smooth the integration process.”


The City of Ottawa is a member of Hire Immigrants Ottawa’s Employer Council of Champions and a recipient of a 2010 Employer Excellence Award for its outstanding practice in the recruitment of skilled immigrants.


Read about the City of Ottawa’s promising practices>>