Newcomer Success Story Highlight - Anita Sanith & Nenita Martinez

Newcomer Success Story Highlight - Anita Sanith & Nenita Martinez

On this, the final day of NEW/SENA 2019, we highlight the success stories of two more City of Regina Employees - Anita Sanith & Nenita Martinez

Anita's parents gathered the family and left their home country of Laos in the summer of 1978. At the time, the government was taking men to "seminars" that nobody ever returned from. It was well known that these people were tortured, starved and forced into slave labour each day. 

The large family, comprised of 8 children a pregnant mother and father, escaped by boat and stayed in the Nong Khai refugee camp for 14 months, without access to education or an opportunity to work and earn an income. Each day the family waited for their names to be called, informing them they were selected for sponsorhip to either USA, France, Belgium, Argentina or Canada. After 14 months of waiting in the camp, they received the call for an interview. They were told that 7 nuns from Gravelbourg, Sk were willing to sponsor them to come to Canada. 

Anita is the oldest of 7 children and was 14 years old when she came to Canada. She didn't know a word of English and life was very challenging, especially since her father passed away after just 10 months in Canada. As her mother was working, she had to help raise her 4 brothers and 2 sisters and missed a lot of school, needing to be off whenever her siblings were sick. Finding it hard to catch up in class, she quit high school in grade 11 and was married in 1984. Five years later, she had her first child and then took the opportunity to return to school to get her GED (which is the adult equivalent of Grade 12). She also  took some basic accounting courses, a computer course and an office education course. Her first job was cleaning department stores, which she did for over 5 years. After receiving her diploma, she became a cashier at the department store and worked hard to eventually become one of the supervisors there. 

After the birth of her second child in 1994, she went back to school again and entered the Women Bridging program in 2002; a 6 month course that provided a job placement at the end. Her placement was with the City of Regina and she has been working there ever since. Anita is now a Record Services Clerk and says that she is "surrounded with a professional supervisor, managers and good coworkers" in her department. She "happy to get up and go to work that (she) loves". 

Her advice to other newcomers is to "learn as much as you can, when you have an opportunity" and to "never give up, learn from your mistakes and upgrade yourself with knowledge". 

Her advice to employers is to "give them (newcomers) an interview and see how they present themselves and demonstrate their skills, knowledge and abilities". She reminds employers that "you can start them from the bottom and let them work their way up", they just need to be given that first chance. 

Nenita immigrated to Canada with her husband and two daughters in 2012, under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). They were sponsored by her husband’s cousin for the Family Stream program. She pointed out that “entry through that program is not easy because Immigration had to rate our applications based on our qualifications, work experience, language ability and funds”. 


Nenita received her degree in the Philippines and came with more than 25 years of experience as an IT personnel within government, specializing in computer software applications, desktop publishing and imaging. 


Her biggest challenge was attending English classes, while working an entry level job and still tending to the needs of her family. At one point she almost gave up on her studies, because of how overwhelming it was, but her family helped her to maintain her strength and overcome those challenges.


Just over one year after arriving in Regina, upon completion of a workplace readiness course, Nenita was assigned to a work placement at the Office of the City Clerk at the City of Regina. After completion of her work placement, she was offerd a casual term position. 


Nenita is now a permanent employee and has been with the City for 6 years. She really likes what she is doing and is very thankful and happy that there is “no bullying and racism” in her work environment, where she feels "most welcome".


Her advice to newcomers currently looking for work is to "Be determined, hardworking and be positive in all aspects of your life. It will take time, but eventually you will find your way and be successful".  She also encourages employeres to consider hiring newcomers as they deserve "a chance to show their worth". 

Thank you to Anita and Nenita for sharing their stories as an inspiration to other newcomers!