One of the reasons Sandeep came to Canada was to escape India’s prevailing caste system. The caste system, originating as far back as 3000 years, is a social hierarchy that determines a person’s occupation and access to resources. It’s still prevalent today with reserved and unreserved categories.
Even though Sandeep has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with honours, she was continually held back from getting the opportunities she deserved. “I was frustrated to see the cutoff marks for my unreserved category students (higher caste) rise, and I missed out on a seat by just 1%. Meanwhile, my classmate from the reserved category (lower caste) with less scores than me was selected because they had a lower cutoff”. She reflects on her experiences; getting a government job is never easy in India, irrespective of your category. “I feel it’s unfair, and I don’t even know why they still have it.”
Sandeep’s family offered her a choice: they could pay for her future wedding or finance her move to Canada, where she could have better opportunities to succeed. Encouraged by her Canadian friends, Sandeep chose Canada to pursue her dreams.
Her journey started with enrollment in the Business Administration course at Selkirk College in January 2020. She quickly found too many parallels between her Selkirk coursework and what she learned in her graduation degree.
After one semester, she switched gears and enrolled in an arts and sciences degree. “I took courses like geology and geography and added courses so that I could learn more about Canada,” she says. “I did peace and justice classes and learned about Indigenous teachings and practices. It gave me a good background on my Canadian community.”
She uses her community knowledge to guide her role as the Accountant Technician at the Nelson Civic Theatre. The Nelson Civic Theatre Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the presentation of film and a wide variety of cultural and educational experiences for the community. “My job title is all about bringing in revenue for the organization,” says Sandeep. “This has always been the job I wanted and love to do – working for the community.”
In her spare time, Sandeep is always looking for extra work and loves cooking traditional Indian cuisine for her friends. “I have so many friends because of my food. Cooking is my stress-buster.” She is also a board member at Intercultural Kootenays – an organization that supports community members battling inequitable treatment due to racism and discrimination.
Sandeep obtained her permanent residency (PR) through the West Kootenay Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program and says, “RNIP is very helpful for our community to bring in and retain skilled workers.”
Sandeep is an excellent example of an applicant who successfully made it through RNIP, a program that changes lives.