Colombia en London & ColombiaPassport. The 25 Top Canadian Immigrants Awards, has selected the most outstanding “new” Canadians for this year, among 300 immigrants from 195 countries who have chosen Canada as their new place of living. The selection was based also in the postulation made by their own cultural communities and was sponsored by the Canadian Royal Bank.
The jury studied the curriculum vitae of the candidates and the number of votes that were gathered from the Internet. About 10 thousand persons voted. In the semi-finalists, there were four Latin Americans from 25 nominated. Two Colombians received the award from Jackson Kenney, Ministry of Immigration of Canada: Lawyer Mario Guilombo from Toronto and journalist Marta Lucía Niño de Milton.
Lawyer Mario Guilombo came to Canada in 2002. He finished his studies in the University of Nueva Granada and has a master in Psicology. He has been a defender of human rights and founded Casa Latinoamericana in 2004 – it changed its name to “Casa de las Américas” recently. The foundation was aimed to support immigrants who have been victims of violence, especially those who come from Spanish countries. He leaded a group of volunteers working in this area from different professional backgrounds.
In 2003 he created the Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights to support the cause of immigrants who have been victims of discrimination and racism. The Corporation has the support of the Canadian Human Rights International Support Team giving free legal advances to more than 6 thousand families around the world.
Guilombo became also the first Spanish persons to be a member of The Navy League of Canada teaching to children leadership in different naval activities.
In 2008 he was also awarded as one of the ten more influential Spanish persons in Canada.
Lawyer and Journalist Marta Niño has been a model of a person who could overcome difficulties and violence and became a proud for her country in Canada.
She is from Villavicencio in the State of Meta. The violence made that Marta Lucía went to Canada as a refugee with her daughter of 8 years old in 2001. The husband of Marta Lucia was kidnapped by the communist guerrillas, tortured and assassinated on 4th July 1998.
She finished her studies in the Catholic University of Bogotá and is specialized in taxes law of the University of Rosario. She is also a master in Management of the Industrial University of Santander.
When she arrived to Canada on 2nd January 2001, she did not know the language and had to face the cultural shock. But her commitment with her daughter in given her a best future, made that Marta Lucia continued with hope her venture in the northern country.
A high recognized professional in Colombia, she had to share newspapers in the streets, even in the cold winter. She cleaned offices and sold flowers, while she was studying English to be able to apply for the labor market of the country. A mother of courage, Marta Lucia was not defeated by the endures of her new condition as forced immigrant. Working with honesty and courage for her daughter, the country that received her is giving now a recognition to her efforts.
At least, she could joined something related with her profession as a lawyer. She became also a lecturer and an adviser for refugees. She gathers the new comers and organize support for them, especially those who come from Latin American countries. She says that she tries to help them to avoid them the same situations she endured when she came with her small daughter.
Marta Lucía Niño founded the Abanico Magazine from where she works to keep the cultural roots and language of Colombians in Canada, bringing positive messages and a hopeful future.