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Asian Star- Kajal Dhaneshwari

Asian Star- Kajal Dhaneshwari

Native Village/Country parent’s background
I am from India. My mother’s family is from Jaipur, Rajasthan and my dad’s family
is from Ajmer, Rajasthan. However, I was born and raised in Ahmedabad,
Gujarat.  
Your Early Education
I immigrated to Canada half way through grade six got enrolled at Lee Ridge
Elementary. For Junior High, I went to Edith Rogers. I completed my grade 12 at
Wagner High School. And, I recently graduated from MacEwan University with a
Bachelor of Communications degree and a major in Journalism. 
When & Why You came to Canada
My dad’s best friend spoke about immigrating to Canada when they were young
and he turned his file in 2001. In 2008, we received our visas and consequent
upon we immigrated. I think he wanted to provide himself and his family a
prosperous financial life. 
Your career advancement initiatives, volunteer work and present occupation:
I chose to become a journalist because, growing up; I didn’t think I was being
heard. I felt helpless in many situations during childhood. Looking at my mother, I
realized I want to do more for her and myself. I was confident I wanted to pursue
the most potent career that puts me in charge of the narrative. A job that
provides me with the ability to get myself and others heard and the capability to
do something about that helplessness.
As regards volunteerism, every winter I collect warm clothing from people who
are looking to donate and deliver it to my people in need on the streets of
Downtown/Whyte Ave. I help out on Sundays in the kitchen at the temple. The
volunteer list is big. However, I do not want to brag.
 Currently I am doing an internship with Rippen as a journalist specializing in
broadcast, storytelling through commercial/promotional videos for local
businesses and writing. 
I am also working as a sales advisor at Best Buy while actively looking for a
journalism job. 
Your Regret in Life
At times, in the past, I have forgotten that I need to help myself before I take the
initiative to help everyone else around me. Similarly, it took me some time to
realize that if I can’t find my voice, I may not be able to become the voice of
anyone else’s.  
Pick Any One of Your Best Achievements

In grade 9, a friend of mine said, “you can’t win again and again.” She was
referring to the fact that I won the Royal Citizenship award in grade 7, so it may
be over-ambitious to think I can win every step of the way. It was very
disheartening to hear. My dad picked me up that day and I shared the incident
with him. He said, “you only climb Mount Everest once in your lifetime. If you
have the desire to do so again, by all means, even I challenge you to do so.” That
stuck to my mind. I set my eyes on the Valedictorian award and won. To my
grandparents that was a ‘welcome to Canada’ present.
Were You Ever Discriminated?
Yes, discrimination in South Asian households is normalized and very common,
whether intentional or not. i.e. the behavioural expectations of women compared
to men. Discrimination based on my skin colour and height has been a part of my
life for as long as I can remember, but it doesn’t affect me anymore because my
work speaks louder no matter what it is being compared with. 
Are You Happy in Canada?
It’s a complicated question to answer. The ten-year-old little girl who was brought
to Canada against her will was pathetic. I used to secretly call my grandparents
mid night to ask if I could return to them. But I grew up to understand that new
country means an opportunity to make an identity for myself. I might not have
been what I am today and credit Canada fully.
Any Comments on Canada’s Culture
Canada’s culture is the culture of hope, faith, opportunities and freedom. You
reap what you sow here, but you also get rewarded appropriately. It may not be
as easy in any other part of the world.
Any Comments on Canada’s Weather
My Mumma disliked the weather in India. There were times when Mumma and I
couldn’t take naps in the afternoon because of the heat. So, we used to soak body
towels in ice-cold water, squeeze them and wrap them on ourselves, hoping that
would help. Canadian winters are manageable and full of thrill.  
What Brought You Success in Canada?
It isn’t easy to describe what brought me success in Canada. The lifestyle here has
taught me how to show up to places every single day no matter what. Over time,
I’ve realized just showing up is the first step closer to success. The meaning or
measurement of success is subjective for every individual. I am yet to figure out
what success means to me. However, Canada instill the confidence to take baby
steps in right direction.
Are You Willing to Help New Immigrants and How?

Absolutely. I volunteer every chance I get in the community. I educate people
about current events through my social media. I share my childhood tales and
share the wisdom my loved ones have taught me to create awareness because my
experiences can be used as a lessons for others and help them to navigate well
informed road map.
Your Message for Canadians of Asian Origin
Keep yourself grounded to your roots and cut the anchors loose. A lesson I taught
myself over the years is that I constitute society. This country has a lot to give;
take advantage of it all. Always respect elders and love young ones. Girls/ladies
have level play ground to excel.

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