Love Koduah - Fueled by Passion

In 1976 Love Koduah left her native country of Ghana for a better life in Canada. Life was not easy when she first arrived. Her degree in psychology and years of teaching elementary school back home did not lead to many career options in Canada. Having to support herself and her daughter, Love took up factory jobs making as little as $2.35 an hour at times.   

Ten years after she first arrived and fueled by her passion to help people, Love went back to school. Love attended George Brown College and earned both a Community Service Worker and Human Services Counsellor Diploma. She graduated with honours in both programs. “My past experience and maturity really helped me to excel,” she says. Yet it wasn’t easy getting a job after graduation. “Peers that looked to me for help during school were getting jobs before I was.”

Refusing to be discouraged, Love volunteered and took contract work wherever she could find it. Love became Chairperson of the Firgrove Resident Association in Toronto. The Organization worked in conjunction with the Jane and Finch Community Ministry to help community members get in touch with needed resources. The operation was funded by the United Church of Canada. Love’s hard work and perseverance paid off when she started to land several jobs in her field. One of her first jobs was at the Black Creek Community Health Centre where she was contracted to co-ordinate parenting workshops.

 In 1996 Love joined the Rexdale Women’s Centre as a Multicultural Settlement Worker.  As a settlement worker, Love aids newcomers and immigrants in getting in touch with needed resources such as employment information, housing, child care, English and legal services. Her work has also enabled her to aid in community workshops such as ‘Eating for two’ that provides prenatal care and nutritional information to expectant mothers.

Love Koduah has been recognized with several awards throughout her career. In 1995 she won the New Pioneers. The honour is given out by the city of Toronto in celebration of the achievements of immigrants and refugees. Love has also received the Black History Award from the City of Toronto for community services and was most recently honoured with the Ghanaian Women’s Courage Award in 2010.  Love Koduah still works at the Rexdale Women’s Centre and says the best part of her job is helping people become independent. “Sometimes just listening to people and what they have to say helps a lot,” she says. 

The hardest part of her job she says is getting people to release personal information. “In order to keep getting government funding for our programs and workshops we have to collect private information which people are usually afraid or hesitant to give out.”

And how did being a Black female immigrant affect her Canadian experience? “It didn’t make it easier and I don’t think it made it harder. I’m just glad that I can help people no matter if they’re a newcomer or have lived in Canada all their lives. No one is ever turned away.” Love’s other accomplishments include residing as the Queen of the Ashanti Multicultural Association in Toronto (1994-2001) as well as co-founder of the High Society Ghanaian Women’s Group.

Written by Natalie Frimpong
Edited by
Kristine Scarrow

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