“We are so blessed to be here with all this nature around us, especially because we came from São Paulo, a concrete jungle,” boasts Dani about her family’s home in Nelson. “I really like all the events that happen around here too. I was worried that I’d be bored in such a small town, but it was a good surprise that lots of things are always going on.”
Dani, her husband Tiago, and their two kids moved to Canada in 2017 from São Paulo, Brazil. They had all ventured to Canada before. “We fell majorly in love with the country. We had a really good time,” she says. “We thought to ourselves – how much better life is in Canada. Brazil is amazing, but it’s so hard. São Paulo is such a huge city and a stressful place to live.”
The safety of their kids is another reason they can’t get enough of Canada. Tiago says, “In São Paulo, my son would ask if he could make a stop on his walk to my work. I would have to tell him no and ask that he come directly. In Nelson, I’m not scared if he walks.” Dani adds, “We were always worried about violence. The freedom our kids have here is impossible to have there.”
On January 6, 2022, the family fulfilled a 10-year long dream of permanent residency (PR) in Canada through the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program. “We tried to emigrate from Brazil twice before and were denied. First, we tried to do an immigration plan to Quebec, and then we tried to come on a skilled worker visa,” recalls Dani.
After experiencing their disappointment, the couple decided they would come on a student visa with a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Tiago immersed himself in ESL mastery and then into a social work program at Selkirk College. He was always interested in it, and he jumped at the opportunity to start a new career. After finishing his program, he immediately started working at the Kootenay Career Development Society and says, “All my life, I’ve liked to help others. Now I’m a contractor for the government, and I get to use that money to help people and the community.”
Meanwhile, Dani found a job at Popov Leather, where she still works today. She says, “almost all the products here are crafted with hand sewing and finishing. It’s the handcrafting that I really enjoy.”
When RNIP entered the scene, the couple couldn’t wait to jump in. “I saw this program, and I said, oh my god! I have all the qualifications! We need to apply! We decided not to wait for Tiago to finish college and just go for it,” says Dani.
“This program helped us realize our dreams. It’s the best, most important achievement we could have made for our family,” says Tiago.
Dani and Tiago are some of the many deserving applicants that successfully made it through RNIP, a program that changes lives.