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London social media campaign celebrates newcomers working in the health sector

Mary Gianan, a personal support worker, is one of the faces featured in this year's campaign.
Mary Gianan, a personal support worker, is one of the faces featured in this year's campaign. I Am London 2020

The seventh annual I am London campaign showcases newcomers in the community who have chosen to call London their home.

This year’s social media campaign is putting a spotlight on those working in the city’s health and wellness sectors.

“The idea is to show the community that immigrants come here, they contribute, and they become a (significant) part of our community,” said Huda Hussein, the project coordinator for the London & Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership.

“It also shows the immigrants (that) if someone can do it, you can as well.”

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Mary Gianan, a personal support worker (PSW), is one of the faces featured in this year’s campaign.

Gianan, who is from the Philippines, came to Canada to work as a nanny in 2005.

The PSW says she was forced to leave her family behind.

Her husband, four-year-old daughter and one-and-a-half-year-old son stayed in the Philippines until 2011 when Gianan was finally able to bring them to Canada.

“It was (difficult), but my main focus was to give a good life to my children and my husband, so that’s why I pursued it,” Gianan told Jess Brady on 980 CFPL’s The Afternoon Show.

Read more: Canadians celebrating their very first Canada Day feel ‘honoured’

Today, Gianan works at a long-term care home in London, providing care, interactions and emotional support to the elderly.

“We provide care and love… that simple hand-holding, comforting them, talking to them… they light up.

“Especially now (with COVID-19), they feel like they’re trapped (because of) no visitors.”

Gianan was an elementary and high school teacher in the Philippines. She loved her job but has always had a passion for caring for seniors.

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“I think it’s in my nature because I grew up with my grandmother, so I have that love for the elderly,” she said.

“I love my job; it rewards me to see them give love and to care for them.”

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The I am London campaign first launched in 2013 as a way to celebrate London’s successful immigrants.

The stories of other immigrants featured in this year’s campaign are available online.

-With files from 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady