Vital People: Fateh Care charity celebrates one year in Greater Victoria

WatchHarjas Singh Popli arrived in Canada at the start of COVID and started Fateh Care after his family didn't receive any support. Tess van Straaten reports.

Imagine immigrating to Canada on the last flight from India before COVID shutdowns, then trying to find work as businesses closed, and then battling COVID and not finding anywhere to turn for support.

That’s exactly what happened to Harjas Singh Popli and his wife, Navneet Kaur Popli, who have two teenagers and now call Saanich home.

“We moved to Canada in 2020 March, the moment we landed there was complete lock down,” Harjas says. “People were losing jobs while we were trying to find one. I started working in Surrey and would go there Monday come back Thursday but I got COVID and because of me, Navneet and both children got COVID and those 20, 23 days were really horrible.”

“We needed all the help we could at that particular time being new to the country and being new to everything and down with COVID,” Navneet adds.

“We tried reaching out,” Harjas explains. “We asked for all the help we could ask for back then but we did not get it. That’s when we realized there is a need to give care to people, the community, and that’s when we started Fateh Care. Just let me know your address and I will bring food to you and I won’t charge anything.”

“We realized it’s not just COVID,” says Navneet, who works at the University of Victoria. “There will be people suffering from all kinds of different things so when requests come in to us we do not ask questions. We just in good faith go and give people what they require at that particular time.”

“Since we did not get the help, why should we help?” Harjas says. “That’s a fair question but right at start the thought was, no, if we did not get it, we might as well give. Let’s build a better community around us so tomorrow if I again get in a situation like this, I should be able to get help.”

Fateh Care, which is also on Facebook, celebrated a year of giving back in May and has already helped more than 1,400 people.

“Sometimes it would just be difficult to look at their eyes to receive those things,” an emotional Navneet says. “They would just start crying and I would cry, too, so I realized the importance of the work he decided to do.”

“It’s in our community to give back,” Harjas explains. “We’ve seen our parents, we’ve seen our community give back.”

“That’s a rule in our faith,” Navneet adds.. “If you’re earning anything 10 per cent has to be given to the community. We cannot use it for ourselves so giving back is just something that has been instilled in us right from the day that we were born.”

“We’ve gone past 10 per cent now, but that’s okay,” Harjas says with a smile. “That’s absolutely fine.”

If you’d like to learn more or make a donation to Fateh Care, click on this link.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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