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Meet member Neelam Kushwaha

Neelam Kushwaha became a Canadian citizen in September 2018.

“I came to Canada with my son who was two to accompany my spouse who was on work permit at that time,” Neelam explains, “We had no clue that we would like Canada so much that we would become a part of it. The reason we decided to stay in Canada was [because of] its multiculturalism, which doesn’t make us feel left behind as an individuals. There is always a feeling of togetherness. From the day you enter Canada, it makes you feel welcomed. Although it took us some years to become Canadian, it’s all worth it. It has opened a lot of opportunities for all of us.”

Neelam appreciates the Canoo program (formerly known as the Cultural Access Pass program) because of the knowledge allows her to provide to her children. “Since I have been homeschooling my son, [Canoo] has helped us much more than expected,” she says, “We repeatedly explore the Ontario Science Centre and Royal Ontario Museum to learn and understand science, nature, and Canadian history.”

When asked about the value of arts and culture to new Canadian citizens, Neelam explains that the program allows new citizens to appreciate the many cultures of this country. “Because the entry is free for [many different] museums and galleries, it lets you [experience] all cultures that exist in Canada,” she says, “It makes you appreciate and value different cultures within Canada and that are part of your community. ‘It’s easy to make friends when you about them.’”