Vanessa's Story

Vanessa and her daughter Keana © Jayne Russell 2019

Vanessa Rodel is no stranger to hardship. After fleeing persecution and torture in her home country of the Philippines nearly two decades ago, she sought asylum in Hong Kong. Instead of finding sanctuary, however, she was met with discrimination and prejudice by the Hong Kong government based on her race, nationality and status as an asylum seeker.

Soon after, she gave birth to her daughter, Keana, who was declared stateless. Despite the horrific injustices Vanessa has faced, she has done everything she could to survive and protect her daughter as a single parent.

Keana in Hong Kong © Jayne Russell 2019

In 2012, Vanessa and Keana were facing imminent deportation. They sought the legal assistance of Robert Tibbo, a Canadian lawyer based in Hong Kong. He has represented them ever since.

When American whistleblower Edward Snowden desperately needed help, Vanessa took him in. Though she and Keana had very little, they did not hesitate to share what they had with Mr. Snowden. This incredible act of selflessness and bravery saved his life.

For this act of courage, Hong Kong stripped her of what little humanitarian assistance it was giving her, and shortly thereafter officially rejected her asylum claims.

Edward Snowden and Robert Tibbo © N.Y. Jennifer 2016

In 2017, upon Mr. Tibbo’s legal advice, Vanessa applied to Canada for refugee protection and was granted asylum in January 2019. On March 25th, 2019, Vanessa and Keana finally arrived safely in Canada and now reside in Montreal, Quebec.

Vanessa and Keana were promised by the sponsoring non-profit to financially assist them until April 2021. This was supposed to be the happy ending Vanessa has been so desperately working towards, to ensure both her and her daughter were safe and secure in Canada.

Vanessa and Keana in the Snow, Montreal, Quebec, Canada © Robert Tibbo, December 2019

Then, suddenly and without notice, the very same non-profit that sponsored them in Canada abruptly cut Vanessa and her vulnerable daughter off, at a time when they needed financial support the most. This is a clear injustice, resulting in humanitarian and financial hardship to a single mother and her young, innocent child.

Now they need our help to survive during this uncertain time.

Please donate to help this family stay together, and stay alive.

Vanessa did a courageous and selfless act of kindness, compassion and humanity to help others. Now it is our turn to help her and her innocent child.

Please help by donating today at or with BTC at 14aqasi898TWtS1r5VcykGnBJE5pqn3A2R © Vanessa Rodel, May 2020

Contact Us

Help Vanessa and Keana
4587 Clark Street
Montreal, QC H2T 2T3, Canada
Tel: +1-(514)-585-5450, M-F, 9:30am-4:30PM, Eastern
e-mail: [email protected]

Main photo (left) © Jayne Russell 2019
©2020 Help Vanessa and Keanna.
Help Vanessa & Keana is a Canadian non profit under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, Corporation Number 1202309-1
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