Windmill Microlending – A great success story!

Microloans for immigrant and refugee career advancement with Onai Abote

One of the saddest things to see is for skilled immigrants and refugees to sacrifice so much to come to Canada and then not have the ability to continue working in their chosen profession once they get here. One of the more common barriers is the cost of applying for certification.

Often newcomers are unable to afford the application fees upon arrival and end up working in lower paying positions which only leave them with enough income to survive…never being able to afford the application fees. So what’s the solution? …..Windmill Microlending. Listen in to my interview with Onai Abote who shares the remarkable Windmill story and how it has helped countless immigrants realize their dream of working in their chosen profession in Canada.

Onai Petra Abote, is the Community Relationship Specialist with Windmill Microlending (formerly Immigrant Access Fund) in Calgary. Onai joined Windmill Microlending from Postmedia, publishers of the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun where she was part of the advertising management team working as Media Coordinator and also featured as a columnist for both brands. Her achievements include developing clear internal communications for her department, successfully organizing high profile events, ensuring deadlines were met and maintaining relationships with various stakeholders. She also served as a committee member on the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund Committee – a fund that awards grants to some of the cities agencies working with vulnerable groups.

Onai is a qualified journalist with over 10 years’ experience working as a journalist in Zimbabwe – where she was born and raised. She worked as a freelance television producer for Reuters, and then later as Project Coordinator (and journalist) for The Source – Zimbabwe’s first business and financial news agency launched and supported by Thomson Reuters Foundation and European Journalism Centre.

As the Windmill Microlending Community Relationship Specialist in the Calgary office, Onai’s focus includes executing Windmill Microlending ongoing strategic outreach plan – deepening the organization’s extensive referral network of immigrant-serving organizations, learning institutions, regulatory bodies, professional associations and ethno- and occupation-specific groups. While the primary geographic focus is Calgary and Edmonton, she has also represented Windmill Microlending across British Columbia, and built referral networks across Canada in collaboration with counterparts in other provinces.

In this episode Onai and I covered the following areas:

  • who is Windmill Microlending;
  • what they do;
  • why they do it; and
  • how they do it.


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Additional Resources:

Listen to Mark Holthe’s Canadian Immigration Podcast

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