By Karen Kelly
Photos by Bryan Gagnon

Regardless of where she was in her life, Shamiso Manyozo-Scoggan always gravitated to the role of caregiver. She came to Canada from Zimbabwe in 1997 after marrying a Canadian. As he travelled for work, she decided to start a home business with a cosmetics company. But it quickly became clear that her focus was on the people, not the products.

“I soon found out that the people I was meeting had a lot of challenges,” recalls Manyozo-Scoggan. “Most of them were immigrants and did not know about the resources that were available to them. So instead of doing makeup, I started providing resources and counseling people.”

Shamiso Manyozo-Scoggan

After her husband died unexpectedly, Manyozo-Scoggan decided to go back to school and get a college diploma in social work. She hoped to go on to university, but she needed to find a job to support her son. She began working at St Mary’s Home, a shelter for marginalized young pregnant women, young parents and their babies. In 2018, she decided to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work at Carleton while working the night shift at the shelter.

“It helped me because I would read something and then go to work in the evening and actually apply what I learned,” says Manyozo-Scoggan. “I would think, wow we were just talking about this in class.” She credits the School of Social Work, her family and friends with helping her balance work and her classes.

Now that she’s finished her bachelor’s degree, Manyozo-Scoggan has been enjoying her first vacation in years. In the fall, she plans to return to Carleton to pursue a Master of Social Work degree.

“I would like to contribute more to immigrant women and their children. Children of immigrants suffer a lot because they take the responsibility of interpreting for their parents when they go to the doctor, school or to social services. That’s something I would like to explore,” says Manyozo-Scoggan.

She also encourages other mature people to pursue their dreams and to consider going back to school if necessary

“I think it’s normal to be scared, I was scared before starting school because I hadn’t been in school in a long time. I realized it’s never too late to learn or unlearn some things or beliefs. Even at my age, there’s so much to learn, and people will help you succeed.”

Monday, June 20, 2022 in ,
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