Biography of Sandra Miserez
A memorable journey
The personality and journey of Sandra Miserez, a former participant of the Women’s Work Integration program, captured the attention and touched the hearts of the YWCA Montreal team and its Foundation.
Sandra Miserez discovered Quebec for the first time twenty years before she became a YWCA program participant, during a trip that would remain forever engraved in her memory. Two decades later, when she decided to escape her past, she chose to settle down in this welcoming, safe and friendly place.
Originally from Switzerland, Sandra Miserez’s journey led her to explore other countries before arriving in Quebec, including three years living in Egypt. In September 2014, after a long period of preparation, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean with her children to settle down here, leaving her old life behind.
Back to basics and a new beginning
Her desire to provide a better life for her two boys and to return to a place where she once felt safe was achieved through strength and perseverance. Throughout her life, Sandra Miserez faced many challenges and experienced many difficult moments, particularly in relation to the mild intellectual disability of one of her children. Nevertheless, she has always looked straight ahead armed with a positive attitude and a sunny disposition, gifted with an extraordinary ability to live in the moment with joy and passion.
Sandra Miserez began her working life in the hotel industry, mainly in the kitchen. She quickly realized that working in a small space was not the ideal workplace for her. The call of the great outdoors and her desire to get her hands dirty were stronger than anything else.
Many enriching volunteer experiences such as gardening with the écoquartier and distributing flowers to citizens, ignited her passion for botany. Sandra Miserez then rolled up her sleeves and took the necessary steps to realize her dream of working in permaculture. “Nature” is the essence of her personality. From a very young age, her father passed this passion on to her by bringing her along with him as he explored the surrounding forest.
Meeting the YWCA Montreal
As a single mother trying to live on meagre earnings, Sandra Miserez successfully accomplished each and every step necessary to achieve her goal, thanks to a great deal of rigor and resilience. In 2016, she heard about the YWCA Montreal and began the Women’s Work Integration program, completing a 19-week training program including a workplace internship at the Sentier Urbain. The Women’s Work Integration program focuses on personal, social and professional development in order to provide women with the tools they need to reintegrate the workforce. Thanks to this program, Sandra’s passion for botany and permaculture grew stronger.
In addition, through the YWCA’s Learning Centre, she completed the prerequisites for the General Development Test (GDT), as well as a second-level high school French course and the high school level prerequisites in mathematics. The Learning Centre offers customized solutions for participants looking for further training or professional development. Thanks to this service, Sandra completed the applications for admission to landscaping programs in various school boards.
A heroine of everyday life
Thanks to the support and the motivation she received from the YWCA Montreal team, Sandra Miserez finally enrolled in a landscaping program at the Laval Horticultural Training Centre where she began her studies in May 2018. One step at a time, Sandra continues to reach for the summit and her resourcefulness is a great asset in facing life’s challenges. She has overcome many of life’s obstacles with courage, honesty, transparency and with her tireless joie de vivre.
Sandra Miserez is a dynamic woman, with a constant need to move, learn and recharge her batteries in nature. When an idea or a project that is close to her heart arises, she takes it on with joy. Curious by nature, she is involved in all kinds of activities and projects such as traditional music nights, pot-luck dinners and solar panel construction with Concordia University.
Always focused on the needs of others, Sandra Miserez helps out every time she gets the chance and is a role model for her 14 and 19-year-old boys. Her reserved and shy manner conceal a humble and endearing woman, as well as a devoted mother. This woman of heart, gifted with a great ecological conscience and a creative and ingenious nature, is a source of inspiration for the YWCA Montreal.