How I find balance — September 2015

How Kyanh Do balances his refugee work and his family life.

Kyanh Do, 53, owner of Kyanh Do Chartered Accountant Professional Corp., Mississauga, Ont.

I have my own practice and that helps [with managing my time]. I can control my time a little bit more, and I have staff and associates who can help me.

I have to fulfil my responsibilities to my clients and I have a family to look after, but I also have a responsibility as a person in society. I want to give back.

I left Vietnam by myself when I was 17; I was pretty much forced out when the Communists took over [but] I was lucky enough to be accepted into Canada. I’m proud to call myself a Canadian.

I am the president of VOICE Canada, the Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment. We’re a not-for-profit organization, and over the past eight years we’ve been fighting for Vietnamese refugees who have been living illegally in Thailand for 25 years. We’ve been lobbying the government to get the last Vietnamese refugees from Thailand to Canada.

These refugees are just like I was 35 years ago: they’re new to [the country], barely speak and understand English and are faced with a new way of life. So right now, we’re trying to help them to settle and integrate into Canadian society. It’s very time consuming but I try to spend as much time as I can with my family, especially my four children. We take vacations together every year, at least once a year; we go to movies and my wife and I take [the children] to soccer games and piano lessons. Hopefully, after the newcomers have settled, I will have a little bit more time for myself.