If I asked you what you love the most about living in Canada, what would your response be?
Would it be our culturally diverse society? Our beautiful mountains and lakes? Our wildlife? Our talented sports people? There are many reasons we love being Canadian but how many would respond “to be self dependent and to make my own choices”? We accept that as a right so it probably would not make our top ten. For many women in India, it is a privilege to be educated and only some are able to pursue a career of their choosing.
This is a story about a strong woman who has the dream to be the voice and inspiration for other women who want a life of their choosing.
Allow me to introduce you to Varan Kaur. Varan became a KWB team member in July 2019. This is her story.
Varan was born into a loving family in India three decades ago. Her father, the patriarch, was a strict man but he always ensured that his children received all the facilities and education that were necessary. However, he also knew that the society they were living in was not enough for them to progress and grow in their careers, especially his daughters. Varan’s mother had seen how the women in India are often excluded from basic rights of freedom, speech and education. She did not want her daughters to suffer the same fate.
From an early age, Varan had big dreams. She excelled at school and had a passion to achieve higher education. When it came to her tertiary education, she applied for an international student visa to attend university in Edmonton, Alberta. She was accepted and left her family and home in India in 2012 to start a new life in Canada.
Being an International Student is not easy. The cost of tuition in Canada triples for those on an international student visa and unless you have the funds to continue, it is unlikely you will be able to afford to complete your studies here. With great determination and drive, Varan completed her diploma within 2 years.
Varan started working in an accounting firm and began her accounting career. She achieved permanent residence status in January 2017. Right after that, she continued her degree at NAIT to pursue her path to become a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant).
Like most international students, Varan had no family members here and was living alone and supporting herself in a completely different society than what she was accustomed to. That takes enormous courage and determination.
Varan applied for an accounting position at KWB in July last year and has been an integral part of the team ever since.
She continued to study for her CPA designation, while working at KWB. On Friday, the 27th of November, Varan received the news that she was one of 6,371 students in Canada that had passed the extremely difficult examination.
Varan has achieved the first part of her dream. The second part is just beginning.
She now has a platform to advocate for other women who have the desire for education and want to choose their own career path. She is deeply concerned with the domestic abuse around the world and believes that education will remove the shackles that bind so many women who have the potential to become gifted lawyers, doctors, politicians and yes, accountants.
Varan believes that in order to inspire other women to achieve their dreams, you first need to set an example by achieving yours to show them “if you can dream it, you can do it”. Just remember, if you are determined, nothing will get in the way of achieving your goals.
When I asked Varan who her inspiration has been, she said first and foremost, her parents. She realizes how lucky she has been to have parents who wanted so much more for their daughters than what was traditionally expected of them. Her father worked hard to be able to afford their children’s education. Varan has siblings in Australia and a brother in India.
Imagine Wayne Gretzky without his father, Walter’s, love and support? Would he have become “the great one”? Perhaps “the really good one”? It is one thing to have a dream, it is completely another when your parents believe in you and your dream.
Another inspiration for Varan is Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. Malala bravely fought for women’s rights to education and survived an attempted assassination in 2012. In Malala’s words: “It was then I knew I had a choice: I could live a quiet life or I could make the most of this new life I had been given. I was determined to continue my fight until every girl could go to school.”
Varan shares this vision of educating women so that they are independent to make their own life choices. She hopes to be a mentor to those who have a hunger for education and independence. Varan is looking into various avenues of support, perhaps starting a foundation; offering sponsorship or a scholarship. All we know is that once this vivacious young lady has set her mind on a goal, there is nothing that will stop her from achieving it. Not oceans, mountains or a pandemic. She is truly a force to be reckoned with and we are so very proud to call her a KWB team member.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Varan chose to join our team here at KWB is that we also believe in helping others and have been part of an organization called B1G1 for over a year now. Over the past year, we have provided disadvantaged children in India with 650 days of computer education. We have also provided close to 9,000 days of loving and medical care for newborn babies in India, ensuring them a fighting chance. We support many other projects around the world through B1G1 with services that we provide to our clients.
If you are looking for an innovative accounting firm with exceptional people, click here or call us at (780) 466-6204. We would love to hear from you.