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Activism in many languages

Kanta Arora was the first Indian woman appointed to Ontario  Social Assistance Review Board (SARB) in 1985. She launched the first Hindi talk show in Canada, is the founder of several community organizations and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a wide spectrum of causes.

“My husband and I came to Canada in 1969. Canada was a very different place back then – there was no diversity. When I walked down the street in my saris, I felt every eye was following me. We study English in India, but we don’t really converse in English. I was vice president of a prestigious university in Agra, but my accent was different. I didn’t let that get in the way. I attended functions as a vegetarian and went on the dance floor in my saris!”

She launched ARCO International Languages to provide interpretation and translation services. She began with 10 or 15 translators, offering translation services mainly in Hindi and Punjabi. Today they have 500 translators on their rolls providing professional interpretation, translation and training for new interpreters in over 100 languages to public, medical field and social service organizations across Ontario.  

She recalls her own days as a newcomer.  

“We came with our fancy Indian clothes – I bought my first winter coat on the layover in London! There was no one to guide me on what to wear to work. I didn’t know how to turn on an oven. I had never carried an umbrella and here I had to carry bags of groceries, I had to wash dishes, I had to wash toilets! I called home crying that this was not the life I had signed up for! My husband said we’d study, gain some international experience and see how we felt. He did his PEng, things got better, and the years went by. We became self-reliant, independent, and we developed a strong love for Canada and here we are, so many decades later. Canada is now my home.”

Posted: May 1, 2019

November 2019

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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