UFCW Canada Migrant Workers Scholarship Recipient Martha Gonzalez Guadarrama

Toronto – July 22, 2013 – UFCW Canada is giving migrant workers and their families hope for a better future through the 2013 Migrant Workers Scholarship program, which offers twenty $500 union scholarships to the family members of migrant workers.

The twenty recipients of the 2012 UFCW Canada Migrant Workers Scholarship are a diverse group of young people from the Global South, ranging in age from six to twenty-four years old. They are currently attending school in Guatemala, the Philippines, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Kenya, El Salvador, and Mexico. The winners’ family members are Temporary Foreign Workers who work on farms, in food processing plants and grocery stores, and as live-in caregivers in Canada.

Beginning this week, Directions will be profiling the winning children and their families and sharing their compelling stories with UFCW Canada members and our social justice allies.

2013 migrant workers scholarship winnersMartha Gonzalez Guadarrama and her dad, Salvador

At the age of forty-three, Salvador Gonzales Angeles has participated in Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program for eight years, coming here for seven to eight months at a time. Back in Mexico he takes care of his three children and two nieces.

This year Mr. Angeles arrived in Canada in January and he currently works at the same farm that employed him last year. While in Mexico, he tries to find work in whatever is available around town. Even though he finds farm work very difficult, Salvador is happy that he has been able to provide for his family and make sure that his children and nieces receive the education that they deserve. He suffers every time that he leaves Mexico but he is comforted by the fact that he is doing it for his family.

Here in Canada, Salvador finds support from the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Centre volunteers visit the farm to see how Mr. Angeles and others are doing. The farm is one hour away from the closest populated town, so the workers do not leave the farm often. That is why they appreciate visits from the AWA staff, and it is through the Centre that Salvador learned about the UFCW Canada Migrant Workers Scholarship.

Mr. Angeles nominated his nineteen-year-old daughter, Martha Gonzalez Guadarrama, for the Migrant Workers Scholarship. Right now Martha is in her second semester of university and she is studying to become a high school teacher. Martha says she is incredibly grateful for the union scholarship as it is difficult to find financial assistance for school in Mexico. She plans to spend the scholarship money wisely, using it for text books and required course materials for her studies.

To find out more about the UFCW Canada Migrant Workers Scholarship, visit the scholarship website.