Darlene experienced a number of setbacks that made it difficult for her to earn a living. But a skilled trades program helped her get back on track and work toward her vision.

“I think about what happened to me and how that could happen to anybody,” says Darlene. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which made her too sick to hold down a job, and in the years following her diagnosis, she also lost four family members to cancer.

“A lot of times, I felt like giving up, but I knew I couldn’t give up,” she says.

Despite her hardships, Darlene wanted to find a way to move forward and help others. Now she is doing just that. Thanks to an economic development program funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Darlene has been able to carve out a new career in the skilled trades that enables her to pay her bills, buy food, and take care of herself. She has transformed her life and advanced toward her vision of one day building homes for people who live in poverty.

“I decided to share my story because I think maybe I can help someone else who might be in the same situation as me,” she says.

Did you know that about 1.5 million women in Canada live on a low income? The path out of poverty isn’t linear, nor easy as many barriers can hinder women’s journeys. But when you hear Darlene’s story, it’s clear that with the right supports along the way, women can overcome those challenges and transform their lives.

Watch Darlene tell her story: