- We are about seeing change and building hope for a better tomorrow
- We believe that by working together we can make a difference
- We believe change is possible
- We can challenge the status quo and call on the community to work towards change
- To take on a social issue or a cause that we are passionate about
- To be compassionate to each other
- To share learn and build capacity and leadership skills as this impacts our global community
- To make ethical conscious choices as this impacts our global community
- Facilitating the process of transformation which involves using the innate knowledge people possess into leadership skills and build capacity for personal and societal change.
We envision a world where all people hold the power to create sustainable opportunities for themselves and others.
In 1986 I came to Vancouver as an immigrant and have lived, learnt and developed knowledge and expertise working with many non-profit organizations including neighborhood houses, immigrant serving agencies, public sector unions, interfaith organizations, and grass roots collectives. As an independent consultant, I have focused on creating programs aimed at achieving Social Justice, with an emphasis on anti-racist and anti-oppression work, and an appreciation of diversity and of the importance of creating inclusive spaces. Much of my practice has centred on designing and running educational workshops and programs for immigrants, women, youth and the staff working for non-profit agencies and Institutions. My commitment to Social Justice has also shaped my political advocacy and activist activities. Below I expand on some of the last 30 years of my community engagement.
I have implemented over 350 employment and training workshops and programs for diverse groups, in my role as a designer, coordinator, counsellor, facilitator, educator and activist. One of my primary contributions has been to challenge gender and racial inequality. In my role as a representative on the provincial Women’s Employment and Training Coalition (WETC) in the early 1990s I, along with other activists, provided leadership by bringing an anti-racist lens to the advocacy work of WETC. I also brought this orientation to my role as a member of the British Columbia Labour Force Development Board. Over the years, I designed local and national conferences focused on issues of Social Justice and racial inequality for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Hospital Employees Unions (HEU), the South Asian Association, and the Interfaith Institute for Justice, Peace and Social Movements. From 2004 to 2009, I coordinated a coalition of Internationally Educated Professionals called Capacity BC where we advocated for changes to professional registration and licensing processes to facilitate the recognition of the international credentials of immigrant professionals. More recently I worked with the Interfaith Institute for Justice, Peace and Social Movements and first nations teachers, to produce a film `Hidden Legacies ‘about the intergenerational impact of residential schools.
When 8,000 HEU health workers, mainly housekeepers and food service workers lost their jobs when the provincial government allowed their work to be contracted out, I was hired by HEU to organize training and transition assistance for these members. My work was integral to the union’s multi-year Living Wage for Families campaign. The training was designed to support the affected workers to participate actively in the campaign, speak publically about the implications of privatization and low wage work for themselves and their families, and to learn how to build alliances with their faith and ethnic communities, unionized workers and the public. I also facilitated focus groups for community based justice-related research projects including a project that mapped the Costs and Consequences of Low-paid Work for immigrant families.
Over the years I have also created new organizations. For example, I helped to establish a friendship centre in Coquitlam called `Miracle Connection` operated by volunteers, without public funding, to assist in the integration of Bhutanese refugees from Nepal. Over the last five years the centre has helped refugees to build relationships, self confidence and capacity. As a volunteer, I have implemented programs for youths and children, including reading, life skills, public speaking, music, soccer, outdoor adventure camp, dance, ESL and postsecondary support and bursaries, as well as programs for adults, including mental health support, advocacy and information on their rights and responsibilities. The centre is also a community placement site for students, from UBC and local higher secondary schools. I was also a Cofounder of Pratham, a BC Foundation that supports a literacy program for street children in India. And currently I am spearheading a project to support an Indian NGO that rescues girls from sex trafficking and finds them housing, training and employment.
Much of my past 25 years work and experience came together with the creation of the Pathways to Leadership for Immigrant Women (PTL) program model and curriculum. In creating this program I worked in partnership with a two neighbourhood houses in East Vancouver, facilitated five intakes to pilot the program, completed a detailed course curriculum, and facilitated three training-the-trainer workshop on how to use the curriculum. The model is now being integrated into the programming at a number of different non-profit agencies in the Greater Vancouver area. The Pathways to Leadership program is a strength-based, holistic, feminist program grounded in an intersectionality approach and includes experiential learning and a self-directed civic engagement project. PTL also incorporates the nine essential workplace skills, is low cost and accessible to women with all levels of ESL and immigration status. Participants take risks in a safe and supportive environment in order to build capacity and become more empowered in their personal and family relations, in their neighbourhoods and communities, and in relation to their career and employment goals. The program also builds a commitment to life-long learning. The program provides opportunities for participants to address personal and political issues, experience of migration and loss, and gender and/or racial discrimination. Participants verbalize, many for the first time, some of their most painful experiences; they learn new strategies and skills for dealing with these challenges both individually and collectively. They gain knowledge about systemic barriers and ways to challenge, negotiate, navigate these barriers. An evaluation by an academic team found PTL to be an empowering and transformational program that increased participants’ self-confidence, person-centred skills, and capacity to pursue their dreams. Through the program, participants developed skills to deal with family and/or racial conflict, connect to different cultures and communities, and build strong networks of peer support.
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