Connecting through Culture – Celebrating Asian Heritage Month with Ajit Chacko

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Mother Theresa

I am a Canadian of Indo-Asian descent. I believe my journey to becoming a health-care professional is deeply connected to my heritage and the values instilled in me from a young age: to work hard and be adaptable.

I came to Manitoba from Kottayam, a community located in the southern state of Kerala in South India, where my career in caring started as a nurse. Inspired by the selflessness of Mother Teresa, I was drawn to nursing for the compassion and service to others encompassed in the role.

Arriving in Manitoba was a bit of a culture shock – it’s very different here from where I came from. Even though I passed the required English Language Proficiency courses, I still experienced language barriers due to my strong accent. And navigating the nuances of an entirely different health system has taken time and lead to much self-growth.

I have found a sense of belonging in Manitoba’s diverse Asian/Indian community that offers a sense of home, to keep in touch with my roots and make new connections with people of similar backgrounds.

Over the past decade, I have worked as a health-care aide in Beausejour Health Centre, learning and growing alongside my colleagues. We care for a diverse patient population and the interactions I have with patients and their families have been very rewarding. They serve as a constant reminder of the impact we can have on others.

As an Asian health-care worker, I see my role not only as a provider of care but also as a bridge between cultures. My heritage allows me to make connections with others and create greater cultural understanding and competency in health care. Ultimately, I believe this leads to better outcomes for my patients.

For me, Asian Heritage Month is a celebration of culture and a time to reflect on the contributions of Asian individuals in various fields, including health care. It’s an opportunity to showcase the richness of our heritage and acknowledge the strides we’ve made in shaping the world around us.

To those considering a career in health care, I offer this advice: embrace the journey. It’s a lifelong commitment to learning and growth, but the rewards—both personal and professional—are immeasurable. Approach each day with empathy and compassion, knowing that the impact you have on others’ lives is truly profound and allows us to grow and be, above all, good humans.

During Asian Heritage Month in May and throughout the year, there are opportunities for each of us to celebrate the contributions of colleagues, friends and neighbours of diverse Asian backgrounds to our nation’s culture, social fabric and spirit of innovation.


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