About Us | Windmill Microlending


Windmill Microlending is Canada's sole national charity dedicated to providing affordable loans that enable skilled immigrants and refugees to leverage their talents and contribute significantly to the Canadian workforce. Through our work, we bring together valuable resources, generous donors, and talented newcomers to address poverty, inequity, and labor shortages in Canada.

How It All Began

The journey of Windmill Microlending started with the late Dr. Maria Eriksen, a clinical psychologist based in Calgary. Dr. Eriksen was deeply frustrated to witness internationally trained professionals working as janitorial staff at the hospital due to barriers like unrecognized credentials, limited Canadian experience, and high licensing costs. Motivated by the wasted human potential, Dr. Eriksen took action, rallying a group of six friends: Eleanor Chiu, Amal Umar, Aziza Kotadia, Kerry Longpre, and Corinne Tessier.

Founding Steps

Their initial focus was on fundraising to cover Canadian accreditation exam costs for six skilled immigrants, laying the groundwork for an innovative non-profit funding approach. In 2005, Windmill Microlending (formerly Immigrant Access Fund) was established, welcoming newcomer applicants without credit ratings or collateral, echoing the founders' vision to empower skilled immigrants and refugees across Canada.

Our Vision, Mission, and Values

  • Vision: To ensure equitable integration of skilled immigrants, leveraging their expertise for Canada's economic and social progress.
  • Mission: Empowering skilled immigrants to attain economic prosperity through affordable loans and support.
  • Values: Grounded in Passion, Empowerment, Simplicity, and Results.

Impact and Success Stories

Windmill's core mission is to empower new Canadians to pursue their trained careers. Our clients experience significant income growth, transitioning from survival jobs to middle-class salaries and beyond. We strive for impactful outcomes with every dollar donated, providing personalized support from application through repayment.

Changing Lives, One Step at a Time

With the support of public funding and private donors, Windmill has positively impacted over 10,000 clients. On average, our clients see their income increase over threefold after securing their desired careers and repaying their loans. This transformative change not only brightens their family's future but also enriches our society as a whole.

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