By Rachel Sousa, Carty House Intern, Spring 2021

A few short months ago I had never even heard of Carty House while living in B.C. But now, as I have come to the end of my internship, I have a deep appreciation and high esteem for this place and the incredible support it provides to those who need it.

As I got to know the women in the house and worked alongside Louise, I saw how invaluable this transition home is. Indeed, I caught myself wondering where these women would be without Carty House.

I learned that with consistent support and love, women who have faced unimaginable hardships in their country of origin, could come to Canada and find refuge, encouragement, and ultimately experience deep joy in spite of their challenges. Carty House truly is a haven and a newfound family for these beautiful women. I found myself wishing there were more places like this and that more people knew about this important work. To use the words of a current resident, Carty House is not just a transition home, but a transformational home. It quite literally saves lives.

I was impressed by the resiliency of the women at Carty House this year. Covid-19 presented even more challenges and unexpected barriers like delayed hearings and loss of employment. However, with support, their amazing ability to adapt and overcome obstacles of resettlement was remarkable. In addition to navigating new and unfamiliar systems, they showed admirable strength, and I was inspired.

Hearing the women’s gratitude for Carty House was a gift that I will never forget. They called Louise, the Manager of Operations and Refugee Services, their guardian angel.  No matter how long her to-do list, Louise makes time for each and every woman in their time of need. I saw how she built them up and empowered them to find solutions and develop confidence. I also witnessed the generous donations that arrived at just the right times. It was quite miraculous to see the generous consistent support from donors.

Among the many highlights, I will always remember organizing a Valentines day party, where we gave the women pedicures, manicures and I led them in a time of singing. The joy in that room was palatable, I’ll never forget it!

In my short time at Carty House, my worldview was expanded, and my admiration for this organization will carry me into the work I do in the future.  I am so grateful.